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Accession '. 
Gall No. 









Being a Selection of Poems published 
in The London Mercury, 19191930 





I 01 I 


THANKS are due to the authors and their representatives who have allowed 
poems to be reprinted in this volume; and to the following publishers: 

Messrs. Chatto & Windus: for poems by C. C. Abbott, Richard Hughes, 
and C. K. Scott Moncricff. 

Messrs. Cobden-Sanderson: for poems by Edmund Btunden. 

Messrs. Constable: for Prologue, by Gordon Bottomley. 

Messrs. Duckworth: for poems by H. Belloc and R. H. Mot tram. 

Messrs. Alfred Knopf: for Driven, by Le Roy Macleocl. 

Messrs. John Lane: for Now to the World, by Frank Kendon, from Poems 
and Sonnets. 

Messrs. Macrmllan: for The Deer of Ireland, by Padraic Colum, from 
Dramatic Legends. 

The Oxford University Press: for poems by Robert Bridges and Austin 

The Poetry Bookshop: for Rhyme for a Phonetician, by Frances Cornford, 
from Autumn Midnight. 

Messrs. Sidgwick & Jackson: for Regret for the Passing, by Edgell Rick- 
word; and Blank&hire, by Frank Sidgwick, from More Verse. 




AN anthology is too often a mere Whos Who in poetry a 
catalogue of the well known, useful as an aide-memoire and a 
guarantee of quality. No doubt the better anthologies represent 
each an individual choice: but even so they are not always in- 
fallible guides Pal grave stocked the work of Tennyson and 
O'Shaughnessy overlargely: Alice Meynell drew the line above 
Gray's Elegy. By such aberrations we are driven to inquire not 
only whose choice is this, but upon what principle and with 
what range of comparison has it been made? A preference is 
readily granted: but is it based on popularity or prejudice, con- 
vention or eccentricity? Is the personal view the result of a broad 
experience and a close insight? Is the eye of the anthologist poly- 
gonal, as jhat of an insect, and has he visited all, or nearly all, 
of the flowers in the garden, and understood the secret virtues 
of their nectar? 

To ask such questions is to formulate a very exacting demand: 
but it is necessary to be exacting where the field of blossom is so 
rich. It may be that by this time it has become impossible to 
make any selection which should represent the shorter poems of 
England and yet be held in the hand. What we need then is per- 
haps a series of periodical anthologies Poetry in the Eighties, 
Poetry in the Nineties, Poetry of To-day. The choice, as before, 
must bt a wide one: it must be based on principle as well as on 
preference; and the standard of selection must be put frankly 
before the reader. 

The present collection, as I see it, is an experiment on these 
lines: it is the anthology of a period. The London Mercury is now 
in its twelfth year: for 136 months it has published new verse, 
not in the occasional old journalistic fashion to one poet one 
poem and perhaps one- twentieth of a page: but bountifully, as 
a good man gathers flowers to give to his friend two of this 

and three of that, and quite a handful altogether the best of the 
day's showing, and those most likely to please a man with some 
knowledge of what is good. Readers who are familiar with the 
London Mercury and its contributors will by this time have 
measured accurately enough how far their own preferences corre- 
spond to those which have been at work here.* If they have not 
yet arrived at this equation they have only to turn to the index 
of poets represented. This shows no fewer than 106 names, and 
though there are now, it is calculated, more than 1000 poets 
flowering among us in full volume, the London Mercury s list, 
though it might be enlarged, could not be surpassed. It may 
fairly claim to be the harvest of a successful as well as a liberal 
choice: and it does claim to have been made with complete in- 
difference to prejudice, either personal or conventional. Evi- 
dently, upon the face of it, great poets have been duly hon'oured, 
old and retiring poets have been welcomed on their noiseless re- 
turn to the world that has forgotten them, and many of the young 
and confident have found themselves none the less appreciated 
for all their youthfulness and confidence. Nine hundred remain, 
it is true, unrepresented: but there is this precedent to encourage 
them: that the most durable fame has often come to a poet late 
in life, when he has at last conquered a hostile or reluctant public. 
In the meantime this survey, this collection, with whatever 
additions each of us may make for himself, gives us the means of 
noting the supply and demand of verse, the trend of feeling, the 
poetical form and pressure of life in our time. If we look only 
for a changeless and external measurement of beauty we im- 
agine a vain thing: what we most deeply love is tha-L which 
passes, and the manner of its passing. This book shows us some 
of the already vanishing contours of the England we have known. 




Stallion ......... i 


Ghosts ......... 2 


Battersea Bridge ....... 8 


Song . . . . . . . .10 

Happiness ........ 10 


Before Battle . . . . . . . 13 

Honey Harvest . . . . . . . .16 

In Lamplight . . . . . . . .18 

Miss Thompson Goes Shopping . . . . .19 

The Buzzards ........ 27 


The Owl at "The Swan" ...... 28 

Goods Train at Night ....... 29 

Cow and Seed Stack ....... 30 


On Reading an Elizabethan Lyric . . . . 31 

Sonnet . . . . . . . . 31 


Epitaph' ......... 33 


EPIGRAMS ........ 34 

The Chaunty of the Nona . . . . . .38 

Tarantella ........ 40 


The House That Was ....... 42 


The Scythe Struck by Lightning . . . . - 43 

The Late Stand-To ....... 45 

The Idlers 46 

The Spell 47 

Almswomen ........ 48 

The Failure ........ 49 


The First Mercy ....... 50 


Prologue . . . . . . . 51 


Seascape ......... 5^3 

The Quails . . . . , . . 55 


Come Si Quando . . . . . . .58 

Emily Bronte ........ 67 

Fortunatus Nlmium ....... 68 


Fafai'a ......... 70 


Nature's Fruitfulness , . . . . , 71 


A Dynasty ........ 72 


The Panic ........ 73 

The Firstborn ........ 73 

Spring and Poetry ....... 74 


Eclipse (November 1925) . . . . . -77 


Sonnets in Summer Heat ...... 78 


The Good wife Relents ...... 80 

Fiddle Song ........ 81 


The Deer of Ireland ....... 82 


The Unfortunate Miller ...... 83 

The Young Man under the Walnut-Tree . . . .84 


Rhyme for a Phonetician ...... 86 


Edward Thomr ;.....- 87 

Two in a Body ........ 88 


Timepieces ..... 9 

Love's Caution ...... 9 


The Ugly Duckling 9 2 

Epigram ... 93 


The Suicide 94 

In the Dock 94 

Suppose .- 95 


To Edmund Gosse ... 97 

To a Lyric Poet ....... 97 


Nemesis 99 


The Last Bottle I0 

The Devout Angler . . . . . 101 

Head and Heart IO2 

Unforgivable IC2> 

Unforgiven . - * .102 


Domestic Thoughts in a Bath-Room . . .103 


Ishak'sSong IO 4 


Cobbett in Wiltshire . . . . . . .105 


Old Testament . . . . . . . .106 

Baxter Print . . . . . . . .no 

Unconquerable . . . . . . . .no 

Last Lines . . . . . . . .in 


The Rose Family . . . . . . .114 

ToE. T. 114 

The Need of Being Versed in Country Things . . . 1 1 5 

A Favour . . . . . . . .116 


Patience . . . . . . . .117 

Abnormal Psychology . . . . .119 


Modernisms . . . . . . .120 


Coverings . . . . . .121 


By the Weir . . . . . . .123 


Return ......... 124 


From Our Ghostly Enemy . . . . . .125 

A Lover since Childhood . . . . . . 1 27 

The Cool Web 127 


Nocturne . . . . . . . .129 


Tobacco ......... 130 

Encounters . . . . . . . .131 


The Idol 132 

Tugs 133 

Fog 134 

Walls 134 


Waiting Both . . . . . . . 135 

On the Portrait of a Woman About to be Hanged . 135 

Voices from Things Growing . . . . .136 

The Woman I Met ....... 138 

Going and Staying . . . . . . .140 

A Glimpse froia the Train . . . . . .140 


The Puritan ........ 142 


The Angler's Legacy ....... 143 


In Westminster Abbey . . . . . .145 


Creditors . . . . . . . .146 

The Dying Fall ....... 147 

A City Progress . . . . . . .150 

I Say to Myself . . . . . . . .152 


The Singing Furies . . . . . . 153 


September . . . . . . . 155 


Unrest in Love . . . . . . . .156 


Sonnet in a Mirror . . . . . . .157 


Now to the World . . . . . . .158 


Snake ......... 160 

Sonnet: I Did Not See ...... 163 

". . . Another Man's Poison " . . . . . .163 

Tumult ......... 165 


I Know All This, When Gipsy Fiddles Cry . . .166 

Hamlet ......... 171 


The Faithless Shepherd . . . . . .174 

LUCAS, F. L.: 

The Log 177 


A Fine Night in Winter . . . . . .179 


At the End of Term . . . . . . .180 

For the Dead who died Young . . . . .180 


"// est Cocu le Chef de Gare* . . . . .182 


Driven . . . . . . . . .184 


A House of Dreams . . . . . . .185 


The Poet and his Book 186 

Time's Reversals . . . . . . .186 

The Poet to the Birds . . . . . . .187 


To Memory ........ 188 


The Flower of Battle . . . . . . . 189 


Nobis Cum Pereant . . . . . .190 


Ishmael ......... 191 

Night Rhapsody . . . . - - .191 


Asleep 195 


Thetis and the Aunts . . . . . . .196 


Mortality . . . . . . . . 199 

After London ........ 202 


Circe and Aeneas ....... 204 

The Screever ........ 205 


The Red Man in the Settlements ..... 206 


EPIGRAMS ........ 207 


London Siren ...... . 208 


The Kiss ........ 213 


Regret for the Passing of the Entire Scheme of Things . .214 

ROWE, R. P. P.: 

Religion . . . . . . . . .215 

A Lost Chance . . . . . . . .215 


The Modern Hippolytus . . . . . .216 


Tuscany ......... 217 

Bee-Master . . . . . . . .218 

Song ......... 221 

Evening . . . . . . . . .221 


A Last Judgment ....... 222 

Early Chronology ....... 223 

Storm on Fifth Avenue ...... 224 

Grandeur of Ghosts ....... 225 

All Souls' Day ........ 225 


The Poem ........ 227 


Permanence ........ 228 


Deor 230 


Kindly Night Hurries Hence ...... 232 


Woman's Song ........ 233 

Memory ......... 234 

The Rock Pool ....... 236 

The Beach of Shells 237 

The Fairy's Child 238 

Overheard at a Literary Party . . . .239 


The Water Song of Dinas Vawr ..... 240 
Blankshire . . . . - - . .241 


Anarchy ......... 244 

fhe Rebel Heart ....... 246 

' Late Snow ........ 247 

To a Musician ........ 248 

A Dog's Death . ....... 251 


If To Be Thrust from Eden's Gate . , . . .252 

When Kindness like a Planet Sets . . . . .252 


"Beautiful, Proud Sea" . . . . . 253 


The Wasp That Was 254 

The Last Prayer ....... 254 

Retirement . . . 255 

A Fenland Stream . . . . . 255 

To my Subliminal Self . . . - . .256 


Song ......... 258 


Man with Girl 259 

The Towers of Tantalus . . . 2 59 


The Marriage of Saint Francis . . . - .261 


Autumn ......... 262 


Song in Autumn ....... 263 


The Deserted House ....... 264 

Horses *<$5 

Moths 267 


Spring Sunshine ....... 270 

To "Anon" ........ 270 


On the Step 271 


Hector 274 

YEATS, W. B.: 

My Descendants (From Meditations in Time of Civil War} . 275 

The Road at My Door (From Meditations in Time of Civil War} 276 

All Souls' Night 276 

YOUNG, A. J.: 

August ......... 281 

YOUNG, J. R.: 

The Moth 282 

The Quest ........ 282 



Round by the black barn and the shrunken pond, 
Now treading slow, now sidling proudly on, 
Through warm air startled by his eager neigh 
The Suffolk stallion cleaves his stately way. 

His body gleaming firm as moulded bronze, 
His feathered fetlocks plumed with silken gold, 
His belted tail, thick mane, with ribands blent, 
He strides to mate his mares, magnificent. 

The deep expectant eyes shine mildly bright, 
The rich flanks quiver, stiff the great neck curves, 
Faster the mighty head throws toss and fling 
When stabled mares whinny their welcoming. 

With dull and sullen face, thin buskined legs, 
Leading his charge in apathy and ease, 
A dusty groom plods wearily beside 
This majesty of limb, this fruitful pride. 



Can they still live, 
Beckon and cry 
Over the years 
After they die, 
Bringing us tears 


Those we once set 
With us abreast, 
Shielded and cherished, 
Are they distressed 
If we forget 
After they've perished? 

So while they sleep 
Do they not trust 
Friendship to keep 
Memory bright 
Lest it fall quite 
Into the dust? 


Ah, but they try 
That to retain 
Lest they should die 
Over again . . . 

What magic art 
Conjured his name 
Out of still seas, 
So that my heart, 
Stripped of its ease, 
Filled me with shame? 

Out of what space 
Echoed his laughter 
Back to my ear? 
Whence rose his face, 
Friendly and clear, 
All this time after? 


I had been reading, 
Rapt, never heeding 
How the light crept 
Out of the room . . . 
Almost I slept 
Lulled by the gloom . 


.. . Dreamily raising 
Out of the embers 
Castles and forts. . . . 
Ah, it's amazing 
How one remembers 
Trivial thoughts! 


And . . . did I brood? 
Nay, free from care, 
Grief, or desire, 

Such was my mood, 
Sunk in a chair 
Close to the fire. 

Almost I slept . . . 
Weariness swept 
Idle pretences 
Out of my heart; 
Slowly my senses 
Glided apart. . . . 


. .' . Glided like ships 
Over the seas; 
Flitted like birds 
Over the trees . . . 
Then came his words 
Back to my lips. 


Softly they stole, 
Wave upon wave, 
Crushing my soul 
Into his grave. . . . 
"You will forget. . . . 
You will forget. ..." 


Then came his eyes 
Shining with truth; 
Then came his voice 
Broken with sighs; 
Friend of my choice ! 
Friend of my youth ! 


God! But I burned 
Him to embrace, 
Feeling his breath 
Hot on my face, 
So that I yearned 
Almost to death. 


So that I reeled 
Free from sleep's fetters 
Out of my chair 
Over to where 
I had concealed 
Certain old letters. 


Holding a taper 
Over my head, 
Thrust I aside 
Bundles of paper, 
Labelled and tied, 
Seeking my dead. 


Hearing him yet 
Saying "Good-bye!" 
Hearing his sigh, 
Murmured so low, 
"Ah, but I know . . . 
You will forget." 


Had I not chaffed, 
Mocking his dole? 
Had I not laughed 


In my endeavour 
Him to console, 
Telling him,- "Never"? 

Almost distraught, 
Kneeling I sought. 
Rummaged and fumbled, 
Straining my eyes. . . . 
Then my hand stumbled 
On to my prize. 


Buried like him, 
Withering under 
Many a story 
Nearly as dim, 
Drained of its wonder 
Barren of glory. 

So that I wept: 
Strong as a tide 
Bitterness swept 
Over my head. . . . 
I had not cried 
When he was dead. 


Dully I sobbed. 

While my heart throbbed 

Still with that low 

Cry of regret; 

"Ah, but I know. . . . 

You will forget/' 


How came this shade, 
Strangely begotten, 
Back to my mind, 
Bringing behind 
Grief long allayed, 
Almost forgotten?- 


Ah, but they live, 
Beckon and cry 
Over the years 
After they die, 
Bringing us tears 


Battersea Bridge 

"This is the hour/' she said, "of transmutation: 
It is the eucharist of the evening, changing 
All things to beauty. Now the ancient river, 
That all day under the arch was polished jade, 
Becomes the ghost of a river, thinly gleaming 
Under a silver cloud. It is not water: 
It is that azure stream in which the stars 
Bathe at the daybreak and become immortal/* 
"And the moon," said I, not thus to be outdone, 
"What of the moon? . . . Over the dusty plane-trees 
Which crouch in the dusk above their feeble lanterns, 
Each coldly lighted by his tiny faith; 
The moon, the waxen moon, now almost full, 
Creeps whitely up. Westward the waves of cloud, 
Vermilion, crimson, violet, stream on the air, 
Shatter to golden flakes in the icy green 
Infinity of twilight. . . . And the moon 
Drinks up their light, and as they fade, or darken, 
Brightens. . . . O monstrous miracle of the twilight 
That one should live because the others die!" 
"Strange too," she answered, "that upon this azure 
Pale-gleaming ghostly stream, impalpable 
So faint, so fine, that scarcely it bears up 
The petals that the lantern strews upon it- 
These great black barges float like apparitions, 
Loom in the silver of it, beat upon it, 
Moving upon it as dragons move in air." 
"Thus always," then I answered, looking never 
Toward her, face, so beautiful and strange 


It grew, with feeding on the evening light, 
"The gross is given by inscrutable God 
Power to beat wide wings upon the subtle. 
Thus we ourselves, so fleshly, fallible, mortal, 
Stand here, for all our foolishness, transfigured: 
Hung over nothing in an arch of light, 
While one more evening, like a wave of silence, 
Gathers the stars together and goes out." 



Nothing I have is worth a tear: 
Books and papers, gauds and gear. 
Happier beetle spread on his back 
Than I boxed up with this what-d'ye-lack. 

What makes man as he stands? 

Head, belly and hands: 
Three to serve one, and the world goes on. 

Once I'd a heart, but they did not approve it, 
Slit up my side, and let remove it, 
Since I've been good they have given to mo 
Paper galore, and much good may it do me. 

What brings man relief? 

Bread, pudding and beef. 
Three kinds of food: paper's no good. 

Soldiers tell me fighting's no frolic, 
Wise men tell me love is a colic, 
Bishops tell me learning's a lie 
Somebody tells me that I must die. 

What shall serve man then? 

Sword, sonnet or pen? 
All things must fall: God help us all! 


Is happiness a solid thing 
Like golcj, like ceremonial gear, 


That still you say "I will possess it"? 

A kind of fruit, a clustering 

Of grapes that yields a liquid cheer 
Enstorable, if you shall press it? 

Will you, against a waning year, 

Bin it, or bind it, is it ear 

Of wheat, or honey golden clear, 

The flower's amber-hearted tear, 
Caught by a waxen web in summertide, 
That you will drain, drain, drain, and sip or set aside? 

Step light, 

Speak soft, 
Tis a thing a word can frighten, 

Takes flight, 

Lifts aloft 

Ere your greedy grasp can tighten. 
'Tis a bird that wings his way 
Ever in the sun's full ray, 
Endazzlement's dear centre, guessed 
Rather than seen by light-distressed 
And blinking eye, that will not be controlled. 
Or rather 'tis a wind no net can hold. 

Reflect, be wise, 

And seek some lesser prize 
Rather than airy stuff that cheats the sympathies. 

Be sober, be content 

To know the evident 
Rather than gape at gleam, and bright astonishment 

This is a fever, caught 

By minds unwrapped of thought, 
That passes with a draught of sour experience bought. 

I counsel you to set your spirit bounds 
Lest, head in air, you sink unseen in quaking grounds. 


"Oh, you speak sooth, and argue well enough 

After the way of men whose minds are tough. 

But I know one, well learned in these things, 

For whom this bird is tame, for whom he sings 

Willing with wavering breast, and quiet folded wings: 

Or, if a wind, a wind her spell that know., 

And still about her house each blissful evening blows/' 



Before Battle 

Here on the blind verge of infinity 

We live ard move like moles. Our crumbling trench 

Gapes like a long wound in the sodden clay. 

The land is dead. No voice, no living thing, 

No happy green of leaf tells that the spring 

Wakes in the world behind us. Empty gloom 

Fills the cold interspace of earth and sky. 

The sky is waterlogged and the drenched earth 

Rots, and the whining sorrow of slow shells 

Flies overhead. But memory, like the rose, 

Wakes and puts forth her bright and odorous blooms 

And builds green hanging gardens in the heart. 

Once, in another life, in other places, 
Where a slow river coiled through broad green spaces 
And sunlight filled the long grass of the meadows 
And moving water flashed from shine to shadows 
Of old green-feathered willows, bent in ranks 

Along sun-speckled banks, 
Lively remembered things now gone for ever; 
I saw young men run naked by the river, 
Thirty young soldiers. Where the field-path goes, 
Their boots and shirts and khaki lay in rows. 

With feet among the long warm grass stood one 

Like ivory in the sun, 
And in the water, white upon the shade 

That hung beneath the shore, 


His long reflection like a slow flag swayed 
And at a trembling of the water frayed 
Into a hundred shreds, then joined once more. 
One, where the river (when the willows end) 
Breaks from its calm to swirl about a bend 
Strong swimmer he wrestled against the race 
Of the full stream. I saw his laughing face 
Framed by his upcurved arm. Another, slim, 
Hands above head, stood braced upon the brim, 
Then dived a brother of the curved new moon 

And came up streaming soon 
Ten feet beyond, brown shoulders shining wet 
And comic face and hair washed sleek as jet. 
Farther upstream I saw a gay young fellow 
Climb stealthily into a leaning willow, 
And perch there, hidden, crooning like a dove, 
Till from the pool below a voice was heard: 
"'Ere, Bert! Where's Bert?" And Bert sang out above: 
"Up here, old son, changed to a bloody bird!" 
And dived through leaves and shattered through the cool 
Clear watery mirror, and all across the pool 
Slow winking circles opened out, till he 
Rose and in rising broke their symmetry. 

Their shouts and laughter filled the sparkling air: 
White flakes of shining water everywhere 
Splashed from their diving. Hosts of little billows 
Beat on the shores, and the boughs of the hanging willows 
Glittered with glassy drops. Then, bright as fire, 
A bugle sounded, and their happy din 
Stopped, and the boys, with that swift discipline 
With which keen life answers the heart's desire, 
Rushed for the bank. And all the bank grew white 
With bodies swarming up out of the stream. 
From the water and the trees they came to sight: 
Across dark leaves I saw their quick limbs gleam. 

Then brandished towels flashed whitely everywhere: 
They dried their ears and scrubbed their towzled hair: 
One, stepping to the water, carefully 
Stretched a bare leg to rinse a muddy foot: 

One sat with updrawn knee, 
Bent head, and both hands tugging on a boot. 
And gradually the bright and flashing crowd 
Dimmed into sober khaki. Then their loud 
Laughter and shouts and songs died at a word: 
The ranks fell in. No sound, no movement stirred. 
The willow boughs were still, the blue sky burned. 
The party numbered down, formed fours, right-turned, 
Marched. And their shadows faded from the stream 
And the dark pool swayed back into its dream: 
Only the trampled meadow-grass reported 
Where all that gay humanity had sported. 

The dream has dimmed. 1 wake, remembering how 
Many of those smart boys no longer now 
Cast running shadows on the grass or make 

White tents with laughter shake, 
But lie in narrow chambers underground, 
Eyes void of sunlight, ears unthrilled by sound 
Of laughter. Round this post on every hand 
Stretches a dim, charred sepulchre of land 
Where ruined homes and shell-torn fields are lost 
In one great sea of clay clay seared by fire, 
Battered by rainstorms, jagged and scarred, and crossed 
By gaping trench-lines hedged with rusted wire. 


The rainy evening fades. A rainy night 
Sags down upon us. Wastes of sodden clay 
Fade like a mist, and fade all sound and sight, 
All broken sounds and movements of the day, 
To emptiness, to listlessness, a grey 


Unhappy silence tremulous with the poise 
Of hearts intent and fearful expectation 

And secret preparation, 
Silence that is not peace, but bated breath, 

A listening for death, 
A breathless prelude to tremendous noise 

O give us one more day of sun and leaves, 
The laughing soldiers and the laughing stream, 
And when at dawn the loud destruction cleaves 
This silence, and, like men that move in dream, 
(Knowing the awaited trial has begun) 
We climb the trench, and cross the wire, and start, 
We'll stumble through the shell-bursts with good heart 
Like boys who race through meadows in the sun. 

Honey Harvest 

Late in March, when the days are growing longer 
And sight of early green 

Tells of the coming spring and suns grown stronger, 
Round the pale willow-catkins there are seen 

The year's first honey-bees 
Stealing the nectar: and bee-masters know 
This for the first sign of the honey-flow. 

Then in the dark hillsides the Cherry-trees 

Gleam white with loads of blossom where the gleams 

Of piled snow lately hung, and richer streams 

The honey. Now, if chilly April days 

Delay the Apple-blossom and the May's 

First week come in with sudden summer weather, 

The Apple and the Hawthorn bloom together, 

And all day long the plundering hordes go round 

And every overweighted blossom nods. 


But from that gathered essence they compound 
Honey more sweet than nectar of the gods. 

Those blossoms fall ere June, warm June that brings 
The small white Clover. Field by scented field, 
Round farms like islands in the rolling weald, 
It spreads thick-flowering or in wildness springs 
Short-stemmed upon the naked downs, to yield 
A richer store of honey than the Rose, 
The Pink, the Honeysuckle. Thence there flows 
Nectar of clearest amber, redolent 

Of every flowery scent 
That the warm wind upgathers as he goes. 

In mid-July be ready for the noise 

Of million bees in old Lime-avenues, 

As though hot noon had found a droning voice 

To her soul. Here for those busy crews 

Green leaves and pale-stemmed clusters of green flowers 

Build heavy-perfumed, cool, green-twilight bowers 

Whence, load by load, through the long summer days 

They fill their glassy cells 
With dark green honey, clear as chrysoprase, 
Which housewives shun; but the bee-master tells 
This brand is more delicious than all else. 

In \ugust-time, if moors arc near at hand, 
Be wise and in the evening-twilight load 
Your hives upon a cart, and take the road 
By night: that, ere the early dawn shall ^spring 
And all the hills turn rosy with the Ling, 

Each waking hive may stand 
Established in its new-appointed land 
Without harm taken, and the earliest flights 
Set out at once to loot the heathery heights. 

17 c 

That vintage of the Heather yields so dense 

And glutinous a syrup that it foils 

Him who would spare the comb and drain from thence 

Its dark, full-flavoured spoils: 
For he must squeeze to wreck the beautiful 
Frail edifice. Not otherwise he sacks 
Those many-chambered palaces of wax. 

Then let a choice of every kind be made 
And, labelled, set upon your storehouse racks 
Of Hawthorn-honey that of almond smacks: 
The luscious Lime-tree-honey green as jade: 
Pale Willow-honey, hived by the first rover: 

That delicate honey culled 
From Apple-blossom, that of sunlight tastes: 
And sunlight-coloured honey of the Clover. 

Then, when the late year wastes, 
When night falls early and the noon is dulled 

And the last warm days are over, 
Unlock the store and to your table bring 
Essence of every blossom of the spring. 
And if, when wind has never ceased to blow 
All night, you wake to roofs and trees becalmed 

In level wastes of snow, 
Bring out the Lime-tree-honey, the embalmed 
Soul of a lost July, or Heather-spiced 
Brown-gleaming comb wherein sleeps crystallised 
All the hot perfume of the heathery slope. 
And, tasting and remembering, live in hope. 

In Lamplight 

Now that the chill October day is declining, 
Pull the blinds, draw each voluminous curtain 
Till the room is full of gloom and of the uncertain 
Gleams of firelight on polished edges shining. 


Then bring the rosy lamp to its wonted station 
On the dark-gleaming table. In that soft splendour 
Well-known things of the room, grown deep and tender, 
Gather around, a mysterious congregation: 
Pallid sheen of silver, the bright brass fender, 
The wine-red pool of carpet, the bowl of roses 
Lustrous-hearted, crimsons and purples looming 
From dusky rugs and curtains. Nothing discloses 
The unseen walls but the broken, richly-glooming 
Gold of frames and opulent wells of mingling 
Dim colours gathered in darkened mirrors. And breaking 
The dreamlike spell and out of your deep chair moving 
You go, perhaps, to the shelves and, slowly singling 
Some old rich-blazoned book, return. But the gleaming 
Spells close round you again and you fall to dreaming, 
Eyes grown dim, the book on your lap unheeded. 

Miss Thompson Goes Shopping 

(For J. I. A.) 
Miss Thompson at Home 

In her lone cottage on the downs, 

With winds and blizzards and great crowns 

Of shining cloud, with wheeling plover 

And short grass sweet with the small white clover, 

Miss Thompson lived, correct and meek, 

A lonely spinster, and every week 

On market-day she used to go 

Into the little town below, 

Tucked in the great downs' hollow bowl, 

Like pebbles gathered in a shoal. ^ 

She Goes a-Marketing 

So, having washed her plates and cup 
Andlsanked the kitchen fire up, 
Miss Thompson slipped upstairs and dressed, 
Put on her black (her second best), 


The bonnet trimmed with rusty plush, 
Peeped in the glass with simpering blush, 
From camphor-smelling cupboard took 
Her thicker jacket off the hook 
Because the day might turn to cold. 
Then, ready, slipped downstairs and K>lled 
The hearthrug back; then searched about, 
Found her basket, ventured out, 
Snecked the door and paused to lock if 
And plunge the key in some deep pocket. 
Then, as she tripped demurely down 
The steep descent, the little town 
Spread wider till its sprawling street 
Enclosed her and her footfalls beat 
On hard stone pavement; and she felt 
Those throbbing ecstasies that melt 
Through heart and mind as, happy, free, 
Her small, prim personality 
Merged into the seething strife 
Of auction-marts and city life. 

She Visits the Bootmaker 

Serenely down the busy stream 
Miss Thompson floated in a dream. 
Now, hovering bee-like, she would stop 
Entranced before some tempting shop, 
Getting in people's way and prying 
At things she never thought of buying; 
Now wafted on without an aim. 
And thus in course of time she came 
To Watson's bootshop. Long she pries 
At boots and shoes of every size, 
Brown football-boots, with bar and stud, 
For boys that scuffle in the mud, 
And dancing-pumps with pointed toes 
Glassy as jet, and dull black bows; 


Slim ladies' shoes with two-inch heel, 

And sprinkled beads of gold and steel. 

"How anyone can wear such things!" 

On either side the doorway springs 

(As in a tropic jungle loom 

Masses of strange thick-petalled bloom 

And fruits misshapen) fold on fold 

A growth of sandshoes rubber-soled, 

Clambering the doorposts, branching, spawning 

Their barbarous bunches like an awning 

Over the windows and the doors. 

Is Tempted 

But, framed among the other stores, 

Something has caught Miss Thompson's eye 

(O worldliness, O vanity!), 

A pair of slippers scarlet plush. 

M*ss Thompson feels a conscious blush 

Suffuse her face, as though her thought 

Had ventured further than it ought. 

But O that colour's rapturous singing 

And the answer in her lone heart ringing! 

She turns (O, Guardian Angels, stop her 

From doing anything improper!). 

She turns; and, see, she stoops and bungles 

In through the sandshoes' hanging jungles, 

Away from light and common-sense, 

Into the shop dim-lit, and dense 

With smells of polish and tanned hide. 

Soon from a dark recess inside 

Fat Mrs. Watson comes, slip slop, * 

To mind the business of the shop. 

She walks flat-footed with a roll 

A serviceable, homely soul, 

With kindly, ugly face like dough, 

Hair dull and colourless as tow. 


A huge Scotch pebble fills the space 
Between her bosom and her face. 
One sees her making beds all day. 
Miss Thompson lets her say her say 
"So chilly for the time of year. 
It's ages since we saw you here" 
Then, heart a-flutter, speech precise, 
Describes the shoes and asks the price. 
"Them, miss? Ah, them is six-and-nine!" 

Wrestles with the Temptation 

Miss Thompson shudders down the spine 

(Dream of impossible romance). 

She eyes them with a wistful glance, 

Torn between good and evil. Yes, 

For half a minute, and no less, 

Miss Thompson strives with seven devils, 

Then, soaring over earthly levels, 

Turns from the shoes with lingering touch- 

And is Saved 

"Ah, six-and-nine is far too much! 
Sorry to trouble you. Good day!" 

She Visits the Fishmonger 

A little farther down the way 
Stands Miles's fish-shop, whence is shed 
So strong a smell of fishes dead 
That people of a subtler sense 
Hold their breath and hurry thence. 
Miss Thompson hovers there and gazes. 
Her housewife's knowing eye appraises 
Salt and fresh, severely cons 
Kippers bright as tarnished bronze; 
Great cods disposed upon the sill, 
Chilly and wet, with gaping gill, 

Flat head, glazed eye, and mute, uncouth, 

Shapeless, wan, old-woman's mouth. 

Next, a row of soles and plaice, 

With querulous and twisted face, 

And red-eyed bloaters, golden-grey; 

Smoked haddocks ranked in neat array; 

A group of smelts that take the light 

Like slips of rainbow, pearly bright; 

Silver trout with rosy spots, 

And coral shrimps with keen black dots 

For eyes, and hard and jointed sheath 

And crisp tails curving underneath. 

But there upon the sanded floor, 

More wonderful in all that store 

Than anything on slab or shelf, 

Stood Miles the fishmonger himself. 

Foursquare he stood and filled the place. 

His huge hands and his jolly face 

Were red. He had a mouth to quaff 

Pint after pint: a sounding laugh, 

But wheezy at the end, and oft 

His eyes bulged outwards and he coughed. 

Aproned he stood from chin to toe. 

The apron's vertical long flow 

Warped grandly outwards to display 

His hale, round belly hung midway, 

Whose apex was securely bound 

v^ith apron-strings wrapped round and round. 

Outside Miss Thompson, small and staid, 

Felt, as she always felt, afraid 

Of this huge man who laughed so loud 

And drew the notice of die crowd. 

Awhile she paused in timid thought, 

Then promptly hurried in and bought 

"Two kippers, please. Yes, lovely weather." 

"Two kippers? Sixpence altogether." 


And in her basket laid the pair 
Wrapped face to face in newspaper. 

Relapses into Temptation 

Then on she went, as one half-blind, 
For things were stirring in her mind. 
Then turned about with fixed intent, 
And, heading for the bootshop, went 

And Falls 

Straight in and bought the scarlet slippers, 
And popped them in beside the kippers. 

She Visits the Chemist 

So much for that. From there she tacked, 
Still flushed by this decisive act, 
Westward, and came without a stop 
To Mr. Wren the chemist's shop, 
And paused outside awhile to see 
The tall, big-bellied bottles, three 
Red, blue, and emerald, richly brightj 
Each with its burning core of light. 
The bell chimed as she pushed the door, 
Spotless the oilcloth on the floor, 
Limpid as water each glass case, 
Each thing precisely in its place. 
Rows of small drawers, black-lettered each 
With curious words of foreign speech, 
Ranked high above the other ware. 
The old strange fragrance filled the air, 
A fragrance like the garden pink, 
But tinged with vague medicinal stink 
Of camphor, soap, new sponges, blent 
With chloroform and violet scent. 
And Wren the chemist, tall and spare, 
Stood gaunt behind his counter there. 


Quiet and very wise he seemed, 

With skull-like face, bald head that gleamed; 

Through spectacles his eyes looked kind; 

He wore a pencil tucked behind 

His ear. And never he mistakes 

The wildest signs the doctor makes 

Prescribing drugs. Brown paper, string 

He will not use for anything, 

But all in neat white parcels packs 

And sticks them up with sealing-wax. 

Miss Thompson bowed and blushed, and then 

Undoubting bought of Mr. Wren, 

Being free from modern scepticism, 

A bottle for her rheumatism, 

Also some peppermints to take 

In case of wind; an oval cake 

Of scented soap; a penny square 

Of pungent naphthalene to scare 

The moth. And after Wren had wrapped 

And sealed the lot, Miss Thompson clapped 

Them in beside the fish and shoes. 

"Good day," she says, and off she goes. 

Is Led Away by the Pleasure of the Town 

Bee-like Miss Thompson, whither next? 

Outside you pause awhile, perplext, 

Your bearings lost. Then all comes back 

And round she wheels, hot on the track 

Of Giles the grocer; and from there 

Tc Emilie the milliner, 

There to be tempted by the sight 

Of hats and blouses fiercely bright. 

(O guard Miss Thompson, Powers that Be, 

From Crudeness and Vulgarity!) 

Still on from shop to shop she goes 
With sharp bird's-eye, inquiring nose, 


Prying and peering, entering some, 
Oblivious of the thought of home. 

Is Convinced of Indiscretion 

The town brimmed up with deep-blue haze, 
But still she stayed to flit and gaze, 
Her eyes a-blur with rapturous sights, 
Her small soul full of small delights, 
Empty her purse, her basket filled. 
The traffic in the town was stilled. 
The clock struck six. Men thronged the inns. 
Dear, dear, she should be home long since. 

And Returns Home 

Then, as she climbed the misty downs, 

The lamps were lighted in the town's 

Small streets. She saw them, star by star, 

Multiplying from afar; 

Till, mapped beneath her, she could trace 

Each street and the wide, square market-place 

Sunk deep and deeper as she went 

Higher up the steep ascent. 

And all that soul-uplifting stir 

Step by step fell back from her, 

The glory gone, the blossoming 

Shrivelled, and she, a small, frail thing, 

Carrying her laden basket, till 

Darkness and silence of the hill 

Received her in their restful care 

And stars came dropping through the air. 

But loudly, sweetly sang the slippers 
In the basket with the kippers. 
And loud and sweet the answering thrills 
From her lone heart on the hills. 



When evening came and the warm glow grew deeper, 
And every tree that bordered the green meadows 
And in the yellow cornfields every reaper 
And every corn-shock stood above their shadows 
Flung eastward from their feet in longer measure, 
Serenely far there swam in the sunny height 
A buzzard and his mate who took their pleasure 
Swirling and poising idly in golden light. 

On great pied motionless moth-wings borne along, 

So effortless and so strong, 
Cutting each other's paths together they glided, 
Then wheeled asunder till they soared divided 
Two valleys* width (as though it were delight 
To part like this, being sure they could unite 
So swiftly in their empty, free dominion), 
Curved headlong downward, towered up the sunny steep, 
Then, with a sudden lift of the one great pinion, 
Swung proudly to a curve, and from its height 
Took half a mile of sunlight in one long sweep. 

And we, so small on the swift immense hillside, 
Stood tranced, until our souls arose uplifted 

On those far-sweeping, wide, 

Strong curves of flight swayed up and hugely drifted, 
Were washed, made strong and beautiful in the tide 
Of sun-bathed air. But far beneath, beholden 
Through shining deeps of air, the fields were golden 
And rosy burned the heather where cornfields ended. 

And still those buzzards wheeled, while light withdrew 
Out of the vales and to surging slopes ascended, 
Till the loftiest-flaming summit died to blue. 


The Owl at "The Swan" 

You who loved twilight and the dusky night 

Must perch transfixed, undazzled, in this room 

Of smoke and fume and talk and garish light: 

A rigid mummy in a glassy tomb, 

Tawdry with paint and artificial grass, 

With sand and moss, and boughs of cork and glue, 

Until some spring a careless servant lass 

Shatter your case and make an end of you; 

Or moth within your case finding its way 

Shall breed new life to work your last decay. 

You knew this countryside; your still wings were 

Part of its glamour forty years ago, 

As in the twilight you came sweeping there 

Round stack, and ivied barn, and old hedgerow 

From Stubbins Wood you'd beat to Assarts Farm 

And then by Flixter Beck to Nickerbush 

Until one eve the cool sweet curfew calm 

Was broken by a gun, and with a tumbling rush 

To earth you came; wings whirling o'er and o'er, 

And life's mysterious light informed your eyes no more. 

Your race is reckoned wise and mine more so; 
But ne'er a seer of us can cast a spell, 
To shield our memories safe from overthrow, 
That's one whit better than your fragile shell. 
And gallant bipeds, many and many a one, 
Who made much stir and flutter in their day, 
From their familiar hunting fields have gone, 
And not one relic of their flight does stay: 


Old gunning Time has ta'en them altogether, 
Nor left of their brave plumage one poor feather. 

Goods Train at Night 

The station is empty and desolate; 

A sick lamp wanly glows; 

Slowly puffs a goods engine, 

Slow yet alive with great energy; 

Drawing rumbling truck 

After rumbling, rumbling truck; 

Big, half-seen, insensate. 

Yet each as it jolts through the glow 

Responds to the questioning light 

Dumbly revealing 

Diverse personality: 

"Neal & Co."; "John Bugsworth"; "Norland Collieries 


"Jolly & Sons"; "Jolly & Sons"; "Jolly & Sons"; 
Thrice repeated, percussive, insistent 
Each wet wall-side successively announcing 
Names: badges and symbols of men, 
Of men in their intricate trafficking 
But there quickens a deeper emotion, 
Roused by the iterant names, 
Beyond the mere intricate commerce, 
Tb* infinite wonder of life. 
Effort and hope and love, the heart's desire, 
Leap In the womb of the brain 
As the trucks clang their way through the night. 
Slides by the guard's van at the last, 
With a last definite clatter of steel upon steel 
And a glitter of ruby-red light. 

So: silence recaptures the station; 
The damp steam eddies out; 


The drizzle weaves a silver pattern, 
An endless shining silver pattern, 
A silver woof in the lamplight. 
And I find myself full of a grief 
A dull little grief for humanity. 

Cow and Seed Stack 

Thick cud riseth: 
Slowly to chew 
Slowly to swallow 
Cud riseth anew. 
To swing the tail 
Fly hummeth by 
Sun striketh hot: 
To cover the eye. 
Wind bringth a smell; 
Smells well within 
To widen the nose; 
Cud riseth thin. 
Rare is that smell, 
Rarely it puts 
Craving in belly, 
Pulleth at guts. 
To get me up: 
To have in mind 
Smelleth as that 
Food that eats kind. 
Slowly to rise: 
To arch the back; 
To husk the throat; 
Dry joints to crack; 
So: surely to go, 
Surely to find, 
Food that eats well, 
Up field, up wind. 



On Reading an Elizabethan Lyric in the 
British Museum Reading Room 

This is the fifty millionth year 

The world is old how old it seems ! 

Young literary gents flock here 

To feed on piles of dead men's dreams: 

Bulging with dead men's thoughts, the air 
Hangs underneath the dome how still ! 

And girls with long and lovely hair 
Around them read John Stuart Mill. 

God, for a doublet and a swishing cloak, 
A pretty bodkin, and a lightning stroke, 
A green bank, and some ladies not too wise 
To listen while I raved about their eyes! 


Because the misery of some great men 

T/Iade music in the ears of all the world, 

And sorrow broke in waves from Shakespeare's pen, 

As sonnet after sonnet rose, and curled, 

And broke upon the couplet have I thought 

That I, because I suffered much, could sing? 

Yes, I arose a little while and fought 

With jagged words, hoping that Pain would wring, 

Using my body and soul as instrument, 

Beauty from Life to fashion young men's dreams 

And sweeten old men's memories I meant, 
Being a wasted torch, to throw my beams 
Over the world: laugh not: I tried to make 
The Spirit of Man more lovely for your sake. 



Here, murdered by the frenzied, not the free, 
Lies the last monarch of a star-crossed line; 
Anointed Emperor by right divine: 
From Arctic icefields to the Aral sea, 
From Warsaw to the walls of Tartary. 
His country's travail claimed a high design; 
Too stubborn to respond, he shrank supine 
Before the large demand of destiny. 

Bereft of crown, and throne, and heart, and name, 

Grief lent him majesty, and suffering 

Gave him a more than royal diadem. 

His people kissed the desecrated hem 

Of robes not now of splendour but of shame, 

And waited for the rising of the King. 





On His Books 

When I am dead, I hope it may be said: 

"His sins were scarlet, but his books were read/' 


On Lady Poltagrue, a Public Peril 

The Devil, having nothing else to do, 
Went off to tempt My Lady Poltagrue. 
My Lady, tempted by a private whim, 
To his extreme annoyance, tempted him. 


The Mirror 

The mirror held your fair, my Fair, 
A fickle moment's space. 
You looked into my eyes, and there 
For ever fixed your face. 

Keep rather to your looking-glass 
Than my more constant eyes: 
It told the truth Alas! my lass, 
My r aithful memory lies. 



The Telephone 

To-night in million-voiced London I 
Was lonely as the million-pointed sky 
Until your single voice. Ah! So the Sun 
Peoples all heaven, although he be but one! 


The Statue 

When we are dead, some Hunting-boy will pass 
And find a stone half hidden in tall grass 
And grey with age: but having seen that stone 
(Which was your image) ride more slowly on. 

On Mundane Acquaintances 

Good morning, Algernon: Good morning, Percy. 
Good morning, Mrs. Roebeck. Christ have mercy! 

On a Rose for Her Bosom 

Go, lovely roi>e, and tell the lovelier fair 
That he which loved her most was never there. 

On the Little God 

Of all the gods that gave me all their glories 
To-day there deigns to walk with me but one. 
I lead him by the hand and tell him stories. 
It is the Queen of Cyprus' little son. 


On a Dead Hostess 

Of this bad world the loveliest and the best 

Has smiled and said "Good night," and gone to rest. 

On the Great Election 

The accursed power which stands on Privilege 

(And goes with Women and Champagne and Bridge) 

Broke and Democracy resumed her reign: 

(Which goes with Bridge and Women and Champagne). 


On a Sleeping Friend 

Lady, when your lovely head 
Droops to sink among the Dead, 
And the quiet places keep 
You that so divinely sleep; 
Then the dead shall blessed be 
With a new solemnity, 
For such Beauty, so descending, 
Pledges them that Death is ending. 
Sleep your fill but when you wake 
Dawn shall over Lethe break. 

For a Sundial 

In soft deluding lies let fools delight. 

A Shadow marks our days; which end in Night. 



For the Same 

Save on the rare occasions when the Sun 
Is shining, I am only here for fun. 

For the Same 

Here in a glade, where few may know me, I 
Mark the tremendous process of the sky. 
So does your inmost soul, forgotten, mark 
The Dawn, the Noon, the coming of the Dark. 

On Juliet 

How did the Party go in Portland Square? 
I cannot tell you; Juliet was not there. 
And how did Lady Caster's Party go? 
Juliet was next me, and I do not know. 


On the Same 

Here Juliet lived. And who was Juliet pray? 
I met her once upon a summer's day. 


To the Same 

Towards the evening of your splendid day 
Those who are little children now, shall say 
(Finding this verse), "Who wrote it, Juliet?" 
And you will answer gently: "I forget." 


On Vital Statistics 

"III fares the land, to hastening ills a prey, 1 
Where wealth accumulates and men decay." 
But how much more unfortunate are those 
Where wealth declines and population grows. 

1 This line * v execrable; and 1 note it. 
I quote it a? t lie faulty Poet wrote it 

The Chaunty of the "Nona" 

[On her famous cruise from Holyhead to Bidcford River in the year 
1914, the month of June in that year.] 

Cuiltes and Doxies* so dea , "V&u shall 

drovehtrso hard.Bist Bards^yrTWUidi 

Come list all ye Cullies and Doxies so dear, 
You shall hearken to this tale of the Bold Marineer 
That took ship out of Holyhead and drove her so hard 
Past Bardsey, Pwlheli, Port Madoc, and Fishguard 
Past Bardsey , Pwlheli^ Port Madoc, and Fishguard. 


Then he dropped out of Fishguard on a calm Summer's day, 
Past St. David's and Strumbles and across St. Bride's Bay; 
Circumnavigating Skomer, that Island around, 
With the heart of a Lion he threaded Jack Sound 
With the heart of a Lion he threaded Jack Sound. 


But from out the Main Ocean there rolled a great cloud, 
So he clawed into Milford Haven by the Fog Blast so loud, 
Until he dropped anchor in a deep-wooded bay, 
Where all night with Old Sleep and Quiet Sadness he lay 
Where all night with Old Sleep and Quiet Sadness he lay. 


Next morning was a Doldrum, and he whistled for a breeze, 
Which came from the N.N.W.'ard all across the high seas; 
And in pacing St. Govan's lightship he gave them good night, 
But before it was morning he raised Lundy Light 
Before it was morning he had raised Lundy Light. 


Then he tossed for twelve hours in that horrible place 
Which is known to the Mariner as the Great White Horse Race, 
Till with a slant about three bells, or maybe nearer four, 
He saw white water breaking upon Loud Appledore 
He saw vhite water breaking upon Loud Appledore. 


The Pirates of Appledore, the Wines of Instow; 
But her nose is for Bideford with the tide at the flow. 
Rattle anchor, batten hatches, and leave your falls curled. 
The Long Bridge of Bideford is the end of the World 
The Long Bridge of Bideford is the end of the World. 



Do you remember an Inn, 


Do you remember an Inn? 

And the tedding and the spreading 

Of the straw for a bedding, 

And the fleas that tease in the High Pyrenees, 

And the wine that tasted of the tar? 

And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers 

(Under the dark of the vine verandah)? 

Do you remember an Inn, Miranda, 

Do you remember an Inn? 

And the cheers and the jeers of the young muleteers 

Who hadn't got a penny, 

And who weren't paying any, 

And the hammer at the doors and the Din? 

And the Hip! Hop! Hap! 

Of the clap 

Of the hands to the twirl and the swirl 

Of the girl gone chancing, 



Backing and advancing, 

Snapping of the clapper to the spin 

Out and in 

And the Ting, Tong, Tang of the Guitar! 

Do you remember an Inn, 


Do you remember an Inn? 

Never more; 


Never more. 

Only the high peaks hoar: 

And Aragon a torrent at the door. 


No sound 

In the walls of the Halls where falls 

The tread 

Of the feet of the dead to the ground. 

No sound: 

Only the boom 

Of the far Waterfall like Doom. 


The House That Was 

Of the old house, only a few crumbled 

Courses of brick, smothered in nettle and dock, 
Or a squared stone, lying mossy where ii tumbled! 

Sprawling bramble and saucy thistle mock 
What once was firelit floor and private charm 

Where, seen in a windowed picture, hills were fading 
At dusk, and all was memory-coloured and warm, 

And voices talked, secure from the wind's invading. 

Of the old garden, only a stray shining 

Of daffodil flames amid April's cuckoo-flowers, 
Or a cluster of aconite mixt with weeds entwining ! 

But, dark and lofty, a royal cedar towers 
By homely thorns: whether the white rain drifts 

Or sun scorches, he holds the downs in ken, 
The western vale; his branchy tiers he lifts, 

Older than many a generation of men. 



The Scythe Struck by Lightning 

A thick hot haze had choked the valley grounds 
Long since, the dogday sun had gone his rounds 
Like a dull coal half lit with sulky heat; 
And leas were iron, ponds were clay, fierce beat 
The blackening flies round moody cattle's eyes. 
Wasps on the mudbanks seemed a hornet's size 
That on the dead roach battened. The plough's increase 
Stood under a curse. 

Behold, the far release! 
Old wisdom breathless at her cottage door 
"Sounds of abundance" mused, and heard the roar 
Of marshalled armies in the silent air, 
And thought Elisha stood beside her there, 
And clacking reckoned ere the next nightfall 
She'd turn the looking-glasses to the wall. 

Faster than armies out of the burnt void 
The hour-glass clouds innumerably deployed, 
And when the hay-folks next look up, the sky 
Sags black above them; scarce is time to fly. 
And most run for their cottages; but Ward, 
The mower for the inn beside the ford, 
And slow strides he with shouldered scythe still bare, 
While to the coverts leaps the great-eyed hare. 
As he came in the dust snatched up and whirled 
Hung high, and like a bell-rope whipped and twirled; 
The brazen light glared round, the haze resolved 
Into demoniac shapes bulged and convolved. 


Well might poor ewes afar make bleatings wild, 
Though this old trusting mower sat and smiled, 
For from the hush of many days the land 
Had waked itself: and now on every hand 
Shrill swift alarm-notes, cries and counter-cries, 
Lowings and crowings came, and throbbing sighs. 
Now atom lightning brandished on the moor, 
Then out of sullen drumming came the roar 
Of thunder joining battle east and west: 
In hedge and orchard small birds durst not rest, 
Flittering like dead leaves and like wisps of straws, 
And the cuckoo called again, for without pause 
Oncoming voices in the vortex burred. 
The storm came toppling like a wave, and blurred 
In grey the trees that like black steeples towered. 
The sun's last yellow died. Then who but cowered? 
Down ruddying darkness floods the hideous flash, 
And pole to pole the cataract whirlwinds clash. 

Alone within the tavern parlour still 
Sat the gray mower, pondering his God's will, 
And flinching not to flame or bolt, that swooped 
With a great hissing rain till terror drooped 
In weariness: and then there came a roar 
Ten-thousand-fold, he saw not, was no more 
But life bursts on him once again, and blood 
Beats droning round, and light comes in a flood. 

He stares, and sees the sashes battered awry, 

The wainscot shivered, the crocks shattered, and by, 

His twisted scythe, melted by its fierce foe, 

Whose Parthian shot struck down the chimney. Slow 

Old Ward lays hand to his old working-friend, 

And thanking God Whose mercy did defend 

His servant, yet must drop a tear or two 

And think of times when that old scythe was new, 


And stands in silent grief, nor hears the voices 
Of many a bird that through the land rejoices, 
Nor sees through the smashed panes the sea-green sky, 
That ripens into blue, nor knows the storm is by. 

The Late Stand-To 

I thought of cottages nigh brooks 

Whose aspens loved to shine and swirl, 
And chubby babies' wondering looks 

Above the doorboards, and the girl 
Who blossomed like the morning sky, 

With clear light like a lily made; 
She dipt her bucket and went by 

Where bright the unwithering water played. 

No water ever ran so blithe 

As that same mill-tail stream, I'd say, 
And life as laughing danced as lithe 

And twinkled on as many a day. 
The wonder seemed that summer waned, 

So full it filled the giant sphere, 
But skulls chill on where warm blood reigned 

And even such summers must grow sere. 

I heard the bell brag on the west 

And whisper on the eastern wind, 
And hated how it found the nest 

That Time was never meant to find: 
Through many an afternoon blue-hung 

Like sultry smoke with drowsy heat 
There came the bell-cote's scheming tongue 

Till gipsy-boys that slouched down street 

With roach on withy rods impaled 
Had flown, and swallows met to fly, 


And yellow light and leaves prevailed 
And trouble roved the evening sky. 

But spite of ghosts who shook their hair 
In clouds and stalked through darker plains, 

Still to the wood bridge I'd repair 
Ere autumn palsied into rains. 

The fish turned over in the shoal, 

A flash of summer ! then came she, 
Who when green leaves were lapping cool 

So like a lily dazzled me; 
Her basketful of mushrooms got, 

She passed, she called me by my name, 
And now whole myriads are forgot 

But kindly Nell will seem the same 

Down to my death! Long tarry, Sun, 

That shone upon us two that clay, 
And autumn's honey breath live on 

The last sighed air that leaves me clay 
Clay ! clay 1 the packing bullets mocked, 

And split the breastwork by my head, 
And into aching senses shocked, 

I gave Stand-To ! the east was red. 

The Idlers 

The gipsies lit their fires by the chalk-pit gate anew, 
And the hoppled horses supped in the further dusk and dew; 
The gnats flocked round the smoke like idlers as they were, 
And through the goss and bushes the owls began to churr. 

An ell above the woods the last of sunset glowed 

With a dusky gold that filled the pond beside the road; 

The cricketers had done, the leas all silent lay, 

And the carrier's clattering wheels went past and died away. 

The gipsies lolled and gossiped, and ate their stolen swedes, 
Made merry with mouth-organs, worked toys with piths of reeds: 
The old wives puffed their pipes, nigh as black as their hair, 
And not one of them all seemed to know the name of care. 

The Spell 

Loud the wind leaps through the night and fills the valley with 

his wings, 
The bleak fields not a furlong hence, in such black hours as 

Terrify, so lonely grown; the rain sweeps down to swell the 


And beats about the happy house where I may take my ease, 
And beats with fury far and near 
The fields of loneliness and fear. 

In the still decline that led the blind year to his misery, 

We have walked among the woods and on a sudden heard, 
When not a tremor stole through air, the deadly fall from some 

one tree 

Of leaves that knew the time and answered God's unspoken 

So seems it now with me, my own 
Is vacant all: I must be gone. 

This rm' 6 ht be that selfsame night when good King Lear was 

running wild 
Over the hoarse unglimmering heath, and glorious met the 

I would then have followed him, for now 1 know myself 


By impulse nameless from the hearth, where 1 might huddle 

In tooth of all the storms that ever 
Were, to rove the wild lands over. 



At Quincey's moat the squandering village ends, 
And there in the almshouse dwell the dearest friends 
Of all the village, two old dames that cling 
As close as any trueloves in the spring. 
Long, long ago they passed three-score-and-ten, 
And in this doll's house lived together then; 
All things they have in common being so poor, 
And their one fear, Death's shadow at the door. 
Each sundown makes them mournful, each sunrise 
Brings back the brightness in their failing eyes. 

How happy go the rich fair-weather days 
When on the roadside folk stare in amaze 
At such a honeycomb of fruit and flowers 
As mellows round their threshold; what long hours 
They gloat upon their steepling hollyhocks, 
Bee's balsams, feathery southernwood and stocks, 
Fiery dragons'-mouths, great mallow leaves 
For salves, and lemon plants in bushy sheaves, 
Shagged Esau's Hands with five green finger-tips! 
Such old sweet names are ever on their lips. 
As pleased as little children where these grow 
In cobbled pattens and worn gowns they go, 
Proud of their wisdom when on gooseberry shoots 
They stuck egg-shells to fright from coming fhr*s 
The brisk-billed rascals; waiting still to see 
Their neighbour owls saunter from tree to tree 
Or in the hushing half-light mouse the lane 
Long-winged and lordly. 

But when those hours wane 
Indoors they ponder, scared by the harsh storm 
Whose pelting saracens on the window swarm, 
And listen for the mail to clatter past 
And church clock's deep bay withering on the blast; 


They feed the fire that flings a freakish light 

On pictured kings and queens grotesquely bright, 

Platters and pitchers, faded calendars 

And graceful hour-glass trim with lavenders. 

Many a time they kiss and cry, and pray 
Both may be summoned in the selfsame day, 
And wiseman linnet tinkling in his cage 
End too with them the friendship of old age, 
And all together leave their treasured room 
Some bell-like evening when the May's in bloom. 

The Failure 

I saw the sunlit vale, and the pastoral fairy-tale; 
The sweet and bitter scent of the may drifted by; 
And never have I seen such a bright bewildering green, 

3ut it looked like a lie, 

Like a kindly meant lie. 

When gods are in dispute, one a Sidney, one a brute, 
It would seem that human sense might not know, might not spy; 
But though nature smile and feign where foul play has stabbed 
and slain, 

There's a witness, an eye, 

Nor will charms blind that eye. 

Nymph of the upland song and the sparkling leafage young, 
For your merciful desire with these charms to beguile, 
For ever be adored; muses yield you rich reward; 

But you fail, though you smile 

That other does not smile. 



The First Mercy 

Ox and ass at Bethlehem 
On a night, ye know of them: 
We were only creatures small 
Hid by shadows on the wall. 

We were swallow, moth and mouse; 
The Child was born in our house, 
And the bright eyes of us three 
Peeped at His Nativity. 

Hands of peace upon that place 
Hushed our beings for a space 
Quiet feet and folded wing, 
Nor a sound of anything. 

With a moving star we crept 
Closer when the Baby slept: 
Men who guarded where He lay 
Moved to frighten us away. 

But the Babe, awakened, laid 
Love on things that were afraid, 
With so sweet a gesture He 
Called us to His company. 



Silverdale Village Players: Easter , 1922 


Neighbours and friends, we come to-night 
To tell a tale and shew a sight 
That never since our Silverdale 
Was first built up among the pale 
Old rocks and woods of oak and fir 
And heaths of gorse and juniper, 
Nor since the sea first left the land 
Then took it back with the other hand, 
yas been attempted here as now 
We have a mind to try and shew. 

We call ourselves the Village Players, 

And acting is our game like theirs 

Who, half a thousand years ago, 

Before the towns began to grow, 

Kept the high feasts of their own places 

With plays and dances, painted faces 

And lovely clothes and lively tunes 

And hearts as eager and light as June's 

With all the quiver of Springtime in it 

And Summer coming every minute. 

The world has changed too much since then, 

But, if we like, we later men 

Can do as much as anyone 

Who ever drew from wind and sun, 

From earth and heaven, such life as ours. 

We never half explore our powers 

5 1 

Of joy, discovery and delight, 

We never get the good we might 

Out of our spell of being alive: 

It does not matter how much we thrive 

If, when there are no more days to live, 

Beauty has something still to give* 

Beauty of colours and shapes and sounds 

And words by these our life abounds 

In things worth having, and there's no way 

Of getting them that beats a play. 

And all the better we shall get them 

If for ourselves we try to net them, 

And play ourselves instead of paying 

Other people to do our playing 

As townsfolk do, and spread the talc 

Of Silverdale folk for Silverdale. 

So listen well to us to-night, 
And, if we do not do it right, 
Be judges moved to lenience, 
Remember 'tis our first offence, 
And bind us over to appear 
Before you all another year. 



Over that morn hung heaviness, until, 

Near sunles^ noon, we heard the ship's bell beating 

A melancholy staccato on dead metal; 

Saw the bare-footed watch coming running aft; 

Felt, far below, the sudden telegraph jangle 

Its harsh metallic challenge, thrice repeated: 

Stand by. Half-speed ahead. Slow. Stop her! They stopped. 

The plunging pistons sank like a stopt heart: 

She held, she swayed, a hulk, a hollow carcass 

Of blistered iron that the grey-green, waveless, 

Unruled tropic waters slapped languidly. 

And, in that pause, a sinister whisper ran: 

Burial at sea! A Portuguese official . . . 

Poor fever-broken devil from Mocambique: 

Came on half-tight: the doctor calls it heat-stroke. 

Why do they travel steerage? It's the exchange: 

So many million reis to the pound ! 

What did he look like? No one ever saw him: 

Took to his bunk, and drank and drank and died. 

They're ready! Silence! 

We clustered to the rail, 

Curious and half-ashamed. The well-deck spread 
A comfortable gulf of segregation 
Between ourselves and death. Burial at sea . . . 
The master holds a black book at arm's length; 
His droning voice comes for'ard: This our brother . . . 
We therefore commit his body to the deep 
To be turned into corruption . . . 

The bo's'n whispers 


Hoarsely behind his hand: Now, all together! 

The hatch-cover is tilted; a mummy of sail-cloth, 

Well ballasted with iron, shoots clear of the poop; 

Falls, like a diving gannet. The green sea closes 

Its burnished skin; the snaky swell smoothes over . . . 

While he, the man of the steerage, goes down, down, 

Feet- foremost, sliding swiftly down the dim water: 

Swift to escape 

Those plunging shapes with pale, empurple^ bellies 

That swirl and veer about him. He goes down 

Unerringly, as though he knew the way 

Through green, through gloom, to absolute watery darkness, 

Where no weed sways nor curious fin quivers: 

To the sad, sunless deeps where, endlessly, 

A downward drift of death spreads its wan mantle 

In the wave-moulded valleys that shall enfold him 

Till the sea give up its de^^d. 

There shall he lie dispersed amid great riches: 

Such gold, such arrogance, so many bold hearts! 

All the sunken armadas pressed to powder 

By weight of incredible seas! That mingled wrack 

No livening sun shall visit till the crust 

Of earth be riven, or this rolling planet 

Reel on its axis; till the moon-chained tides, 

Unloosed, deliver up that white Atlantis, 

Whose naked peaks shall bleach above the slaked 

Thirst of Sahara, fringed by weedy tangles 

Of Atlas's drown 'd cedars, frowning Eastward 

To where the sands of India lie cold, 

And heap'd Himalaya's a rib of coral 

Slowly uplifted, grain on grain . . . 

We dream 

Too long! Another jangle of alarum 
Stabs at the engines: Slow. Half-speed. Full- speed/ 
The great bearings rumble; the screw churns, frothing 


Opaque water to downward-swelling plumes 

Milky as woodsmoke. A shoal of flying-fish 

Spurts out like animate spray. The warm breeze wakens, 

And we pass on, forgetting, 

Toward the solemn horizon of bronzed cumulus 

That bounds our brooding sea, gathering gloom 

That, when night falls, will dissipate in flaws 

Of watery lightning, washing the hot sky, 

Cleansing all hearts of heat and restlessness, 

Until, with c&y, another blue be born. 

The Quails 

(In the South of Italy the peasants put out the eyes of a captured quail so 
that its cries may attract the flocks of spring migrants into their nets) 

All through the night 

I have heard the stuttering call of a blind quail, 
A caged decoy, under a cairn of stones, 
Crying for light as the quails cry for love. 

Other wanderers, 

Northward from Africa winging on numb pinions, dazed 

With beating winds and the sobbing of the sea, 

Hear, in a breath of sweet land-herbage, the call 

Of the blind one, their sister. . . . 

Hearing, their fluttered hearts 

Tak? courage, and they wheel in their dark flight, 

Knowing that their toil is over, dreaming to see 

The white stubbles of Abruzzi smitten with dawn, 

And spilt grain lying in the furrows, the squandered gold 

That is the delight of quails in their spring mating. 

Land-scents grow keener, 

Penetrating the dank and bitter odour of brine 

That whitens their feathers; 


Far below, the voice of their sister calls them 
To plenty, and sweet water, and fulfilment. 
Over the pallid margin of dim seas breaking, 
Over the thickening in the darkness that is land, 
They fly. Their flight is ended. Wings beat no more. 
Downward they drift, one by one, like dark netals, 
Slowly, listlessly falling, 
Into the mouth of horror: 
The nets . . . 

Where men come trampling and crying with bright lanterns, 
Plucking their weak, entangled claws from the meshes of net, 
Clutching the soft brown bodies mottled with olive, 
Crushing the warm, fluttering flesh, in hands stained with blood, 
Till their quivering hearts are stilled, and the bright eyes, 
That are like a polished agate, glaze in death. 

But the blind one, in her wicker cage, without ceasing 
Haunts this night of spring with her stuttering call, 
Knowing nothing of the terror that walks in darkness, 
Knowing only that some cruelty has stolen the light 
That is life, and that she must cry until she dies. 

I, in the darkness, 

Heard, and my heart grew sick. But I know that to-morrow 

A smiling peasant will come with a basket of quails 

Wrapped in vine-leaves, prodding them with blood-stained 


Saying, "Signore, you must cook them thus, and thus, 
With a sprig of basil inside them." And I shall thank him, 
Carrying the piteous carcases into the kitchen 
Without a pang, without shame. 

"Why should I be ashamed? Why should I rail 
Against the cruelty of men? Why should I pity, 
Seeing that there is no cruelty which men can imagine 


To match the subtle dooms that are wrought against them 
By blind spores of pestilence: seeing that each of us, 
Lured by dim hopes, flutters in the toils of death 
On a cold star that is spinning blindly through space 
Into the nets of time?" 

So cried I, bitterly thrusting pity aside, 

Closing my lids to sleep. But sleep came not, 

And pity, with sad eyes, 

Crept to my side, and told me 

That the life of all creatures is brave and pitiful 

Whether they be men, with dark thoughts to vex them, 

Or birds, wheeling in the swift joys of flight, 

Or brittle ephemerids, spinning to death in the haze 

Of gold that quivers on dim evening waters; 

Nor would she be denied. 

The harshness died 

Within me, and my heart 

Was caught and fluttered like the palpitant heart 

Of a brown quail, flying 

To the call of her blind sister, 

And death, in the spring night. 



Come Si Quando 

How thickly the far fields of heaven are strewn with stars ! 
Tho* the open eye of day shendeth them with its glare 
yet, if no cloudy wind curtain them nor low mist 
of earth blindfold us, soon as Night in grey mantle 
wrappeth all else, they appear in their optimacy 
from under the ocean or behind the high mountains 
climbing in spacious ranks upon the stark-black void. 
Ev'n so in our mind's night burn far beacons of thought 
and the infinite architecture of our darkness, 
the dim essence and being of our mortalities, 
is sparkled with fair fire-flecks of eternity 
whose measure we know not nor the wealth of their rays. 

It happ'd to me sleeping in the Autumn night, what time 
Sirius was uplifting his great lamp o'er the hills, 
I saw him not my sight was astray, my wonder 
held by the epiphany of a seraphic figure 
that was walking on earth: in my visions it was 
I saw one in the full form and delight of man, 
the signature of godhead in his rnotion'd grace 
and the aureole of his head was not dimm'd to my view; 
the shekinah of azure floating o'er him in the air 
seem'd the glow of a fire that burn'd steadfast within 
prison'd to feed the radiance of his countenance: 
as a lighthouse flasheth over broken waters 
a far resistless beam from its strong tower: it was 
as if Nature had deign'd to take back from man's hand 
some work of her own as art had refashion'd it 
when Giorgione (it might be) portraying the face 
of one who had left no memory but that picture 


and watching well the features at their play to find 

some truth worthy of his skill, caught them for a moment 

transfigured by a phantom visitation of spirit 

which seizing he drew forth and fix'd on the canvas 

as thence it hath gazed out for ever, and once on me. 

Even such immanent beauty had that heroic face 

and all that look'd on it loved and many worshipped. 

For me, comfort possessed me, the intimate comfort 
of Beauty that is the soul's familiar angel 
who bringeth me alway such joy as a man feeleth 
returning to the accustom'd homeliness of home 
after long absence or exile among strange things, 
and my heart in me was laughing for happiness 
when I saw a great fear fell on the worshippers, 
The fear of God: I saw its smoky shadow of dread; 
and as a vast Plutonian mountain that burieth 
its feet in molten lava and its high peak in heaven, 
whenever it hath distrain'd some dark voyaging storm 
to lave its granite shoulders, discharged! the flood 
in a thousand torrents o'er its flanks to the plain 
and all the land is vocal with the swirl and gush 
of the hurrying waters, so suddenly in this folk 
a flood of troublous passion arose and mock'd control. 

Then I saw the light vanities and follies of man 
put on dragonish faces and glour with Gorgon eyes 
disowning Shame and Reason, and one poet I saw 
who from the interdependence and rivalry of men 
loathing his kind had fled into the wilderness 
to wander among the beasts and make home of their caves: 
like to those Asian hermits colour'd by their clime 
who drank the infatuation of the wide torrid sand 
the whelming tyranny of the lonely sun by day 
the boundless nomadry of the stars by night, who sought 
primeval brotherhood with things unbegotten; 
who for ultimate comfort clothing them i* the skin 
of nakedness wrapt nothingness closely about them 


choosing want for wealth and shapeless terrors for friends 
in the embrace of desolation and wearied silence 
to lie babe-like on the bosom of unpitying power. 

But he found not rest nor peace for his soul: I read 
his turbulent passion, the blasphemy of his heart 
as I stood among the rocks that chuckled the cry 
wherewith he upcast reproach into the face of heaven. 

"Unveil thine eyes, O THEMIS! Stand, unveil thine eyes! 
from the high zenith hang thy balance in the skies ! 
In one scale set thy Codes of Justice Duty and Awe 
thy penal interdicts the tables of thy Law 
and in the other the postulant plea of Mercy and Love: 
then thine unbandaged sight shall know thy cause how light 
and see thy thankless pan fly back to thee above. 

"Or wilt thou deeplier wager, an if thou hast the key 
to unlock the cryptic storehouse of futurity, 
fetch the mint-treasure forth, unpack the Final Cause 
whose prime al weighty metal must give Reason pause; 
or if 'tis of such stuff as man's wit cannot gauge 
scale thou the seal'd deposit in its iron-bound cage 
Nay, lengthen out the beam of the balance on thy side 
unequal as thou wilt, so that on mine the pan 
to hold the thoughts of man be deep enough and wide. 

"What Providence is this that maketh sport with Chance 
blindly staking against things of no ordinance? 
Must the innocent dear birds that singing in the shaw 
with motherly instinct wove their nest of twisted straw 
see in some icy hail-gust their loved mansion drown'd 
and all their callow nurselings batter' d on the ground? 
Even so a many-generation'd city of men 
the storied temple of their endeavour and amorous ken 


is toss'd back into rubbish by a shudder of the earth's crust: 
Nor even the eternal stars have any sanction J d trust 
that, like ships in dark night ill-fatedly on their course, 
they shall not meet and crash together, and all their force 
be churn'd back to the vapory magna whence they grew 
agelong to plod henceforth their frustrate path anew. 

"From this blind wreckage then hath Wisdom no escape 
but limitless production of every living shape? 
How shall man honour this Demiurge and yet keep 
in due honour the gift that he rateth so cheap? 
Myriad seeds perfected that one seed may survive 
Millions of men, that Reason in a scant few may thrive 
Multiplication alike of good bad strong and weak 
and the overflow of life more wasteful than the leak. 

"And what this treasure, of which, so prodigal of the whole 
he granteth unto each pensioner in such niggard dole? 
its short lease on such terms as only can be enjoy'd 
against some equal title invaded or destroyed? 
What is this banquet where the guests are served for meat? 
What hospitality? What kind of host is he 
the bill of whose purveyance is Kill ye each other and eat? 

"Or why, if the excellence of conscient Reason is such, 
the accomplishment so high, that it renounce all touch 
of kindness with its kin and humbler parentage 
building the slaughter-house beside the pasturage 
Why must this last best most miraculous flower of all 
be canker'd at the core, prey to the spawn and spawl 
of meanest motes? must stoop from its divine degree 
to learn the spire and spilth of every insensate filth 
that swarmeth in the chaos of obscenity? 

"And if the formless ferment of life's primal slime 
bred without stint, and came through plant and beast in time 


to elaborate the higher appurtenance of sex 

Why should this low-born urgency persist to vex 

man's growth in grace? for sure the procreant multitude 

would riot to outcrowd the earth wer't not for lack of food, 

and thus the common welfare serveth but to swell 

the common woe, whereat the starvelings nure rebel. 

See, never hungry horde of savage raiders slipp'd 

from Tartary's parching steppes so for destruction equipp'd 

as midst our crowded luxury now the sneakir^ swarm 

that pilfereth intelligence from Science to storm 

Civilization in her well-order'd citadel. 

Thus Culture doeth herself to death reinforcing hell 

and seeth no hope but this, that what she hath wrought in vain 

since it was wrought before, may yet be wrought again 

and fall to a like destruction again and evermore. 

"And what Man's Mind? since even without this foul offence 
it breedeth its own poison of its own excellence: 
it riseth but to fall deeper, it cannot endure. 
Attainment stayeth pursuit and being itself impure 
dispiriteth the soul. All power engendered! pride 
and poor vainglory seeing its image magnified 
upon the ignoble mirror of common thought, will trust 
the enticements of self-love and the flattery thereof 
and call on fame to enthrone ambition and mortal lust. 

"Wherefore, since Reason assureth neither final term 
nor substantive foundations impeccable and firm 
as brutish instincts are and Virtue in default 
goeth down before the passions crowding to the assault; 
Nothing being justified all things are ill or well 
are justifiable alike or unjustifiable 
till, whether in mocking laughter or mere melancholy 
Philosophy will turn to vindicate folly: 
and if thro' thought it came that man first learnt his woe, 
his Memory accumulating the recorded sum 


his Prescience anticipating fresh ills to come, 

How could it be otherwise? Why should it not be so? 

"And last, O worst! for surely all wrongs had else been nought 
had never Imagination exalted human thought 
with spiritual affecti 3n of tenderness intense 
beyond all finest delicacy of bodily sense; 
so that the gift of tears, that is the fount of song 
maketh intolerable agony of Nature's wrong. 

Ask her that taught man filial love, what she hath done 
the mother of all mothers, she unto her own dear son? 
him innocently desirous to love her well 
by unmotherly cruelty she hath driven to rebel, 
hath cast out in the night homeless and to his last cry 
for guidance on his way hath deign'd him no reply. 

"And thou that in symbolic mockery feign'st to seal 
thine eyes from horrors that thou hast no heart to feel, 
Thou, THEMIS, wilt suspect not the celestial weight 
of the small parcels that I now pile on the plate. 

These are love's bereavements and the blightings of bloom 
the tears of mourners inconsolable at the tomb 
of promise wither'd and fond hope blasted in prime: 
These, the torrential commiserations of all time 
These, the crime-shrieks of war plague-groans and famine-cries 
These, the slow-standing tears in children's questioning eyes 
These, profuse tears of fools, These, coy tears of the wise 
in solitude bewailing and in sad silence 
the perishing .record of hard-won experience 
Ruin of accomplishment that no toil can restore 
Heroic Will ehain'd down on Fate's cold dungeon-floor. 
See here the tears of prophets, the confessors of faith 
the tears of beauty-lovers, merchants of the unpriced 
in calumny and reproach, in want, wanhope and death 
persecuted betray'd imprison'd sacrificed; 
All tears from Adam's tears unto the tears of Christ. 


"Look to thy balance, THEMIS; Should thy scale descend 
bind up thine eyes again, I shall no more contend; 
for if the Final Cause vindicate Nature's laws 
her universal plan giveth no heed to man 
No place; for him Confusion is his Final Cause." 

Thus threw he to the wilderness and silent sky 
his outrageous despair the self-pity of mankind 
and the disburdenment of his great heaviness 
left his heart suddenly so shaken and unsteadied 
he seem'd like one who fording a rapid river 
and poising on his head a huge stone that its weight 
may plant his footing firmly and stiffen his body upright 
against the rushing water, hath midway let it fall 
and with his burden hath lost his balance, and staggering 
into the bubbling eddy is borne helpless away. 
Even so a stream of natural feeling o'erwhelm'd him 
whether of home maybe and childhood or of lovers' eyes 
of fond friendship and service, or perchance he felt 
himself a rebel untaught who had pilfer'd Wisdom's arms 
to work disorder and havoc in the city of God: 
For suddenly he was dumbstruck and with humbled step 
of unwitting repentance he stole back to his cave 
and wrapping his poor rags about him took his way 
again to his own people and the city whence he had fled. 
There in the market-place a wild haggard figure 
I saw him anon where high above a surging crowd 
he stood waving his hands like some prophet of old 
dream-sent to warn God's people; but them the strong words 
of his chasten'd humanity inflame but the more; 
forwhy they cannot suffer mention of holiness 
nor the sound of the names that convince them of sin 
If there be any virtue, if there be any praise 
'tis not for them to hear of or think on those things. 


I saw what he spake to them tho' I heard it not 
only at the sting thereof the loud wrath that arose. 

As a wild herd of cattle on the prairie pasturing 
if they are aware of one amongst them sick or maim'd 
or in some part freak-hued differently from themselves 
will be moved by instinct of danger and set on him 
and bowing all their heads drive him out with their horns 
as enemy to their selfwilPd community; 
even such brutish instinct impelPd that human herd 
and some had stoop'd to gather loose stones from the ground 
and were hurling at him: he crouch'd with both his arms 
covering his head and would have hid himself from them 
in fear more of their crime than of his own peril. 
Then with a plunge of terror he turn'd and fled for life 
and they in wild joy of the chase with hue and cry 
broke after him and away and bent on sport to kill 
hunted their startled game before them down the streets. 

Awhile he escaped and ran apart, but soon I saw 
the leaders closing on him 1 was hiding my eyes 
lest I should see him taken and torn in blood, when, lo ! 
the street whereon they ran was block'd across his way 
by a whiterobed throng that came moving with solemn pace 
waving banners and incense and high chant on the air, 
and bearing 'neath a rich canopy of reverence 
their object of devotion as oft in papal Rome 
was seen vying with pomps of earthly majesty 
or now on Corpus Christ! day thro' Westminster 
in babylonish exile paradeth our roads 
and as I looked in wonder on the apparition, I saw 
the hunted man into their midst dash'd wildly and fell. 

*Twas lik^ as when a fox that long with speed and guile 
hath resolutely outstay'd the yelling murderous pack 
if when at last his limbs fail him and he knoweth 
the hounds hot on his trail and himself quite outworn 
will in desperation forgo his native fear 
and run for refuge into some hamlet of men 

65 F 

and there will enter a cotter's confined cabin and plead 

panting with half-closed eyes to the heart of his foe, 

altho* he knoweth nought of the Divinity 

of that Nature to whom he pleadeth, nor knoweth 

ev'n that he pleadeth, yet he pleadeth not in vain 

so great is Nature for the good wife rrnh pity, 

will suffer him to hide there under settle or bed 

until the hunt be pass'd, will cheer him and give him 

milk of her children's share until he be restored 

when she will let him forth to his roguish freedom again 

So now this choral convoy of heavenly pasture 
gave ready succour and harbour to the hunted man 
and silencing their music broke their bright-robed ranks 
to admit him and again closed round him where foredone 
he fell down in their midst: and hands I saw outstretch* d 
to upraise him, but when he neither rose up nor stirr'd 
they knelt aghast, and one who in solemn haste came up 
and by the splendour of his apparel an elder seem'd, 
bent over him there and whisper'd sacred words whereat 
he motion'd and gave sign, and offering his dumb mouth 
took from the priestly ringers such food as is dealt 
unto the dying, and when the priest stood up I knew 
for his gesture and silence that the man was dead. 

Then feet and head his body in fair linen winding 
they raised and bore along with dirge and shriving prayer 
such as they use when one of their own brotherhood 
after mortal probation has enter'd into rest 
and they will bury his bones where Christ at his coming 
shall bid them all arise from their tombs in the church 
Whereto their long procession now went filing back 
Threading the streets, and dwarfed beneath the bright fagade 
crept with its head to climb the wide steps to the porch 
whereunder, as ever there they arrived, the dark doorway 
swallowed them out of sight: and still the train came on 
with lurching bannerets and tottering canopy 


threading the streets and mounting to the shadowy porch 

arriving entering disappearing without end 

when I awoke, the dirge still sounding in my ears 

the night wind blowing thro' the open window upon me 

as I lay marvelling at the riddle of my strange dream. 

Emily Bronte 

"Z?w hast Diamanten* 

Thou hadst all Passion's splendor, 
Thou hadst abounding store 

Of heaven's eternal jewels, 

Beloved; what wouldst thou more? 

Thine was the frolic freedom 
Of creatures coy and wild, 

The melancholy of wisdom, 
The innocence of a child, 

The maiPd will of the warrior, 
That buckled in thy breast 

Humility as of Francis, 

The Self-surrender of Christ; 

And of God's cup thou drankest 
The unmingled wine of Love, 

Which makes poor mortals giddy 
When they but sip thereof. 

What was't to thee thy pathway 
So rugged mean and hard, 

Whereon when Death surprised thee 
Thou gavest him no regard? 


What was't to thee, enamour'd 
As a red rose of the sun, 

If of thy myriad lovers 
Thou never sawest one? 

Nor if of all thy lovers 
That are and were to be 

None ever had their vision, 
O my belov'd, of thee, 

Until thy silent glory 

Went forth from earth alone, 
Where like a star thou gleamest 

From thine immortal throne. 

For tuna tus Nimium 

I have lain in the sun, 
I have toiled as I might, 

I have thought as I would, 
And now it is night. 

My bed full of sleep, 
My heart of content 

For mirth that I met 
The way that I went. 


I welcome fatigue 

While frenzy and care, 
Like thin summer clouds, 

Go melting in air. 



To dream as I may 

And awake when I will, 
With the song of the birds 

And the sun on the hill. 

Or death were it death, 
To what should I wake, 

Who loved in my home 
All life for its sake? 


What good have I wrought? 

I laugh to have learned 
That joy cannot come 

Unless it be earned: 


For a happier lot 

Than God giveth me 

It never hath been 
Nor ever shall be. 



Stars that seem so close and bright, 
Watched by lovers through the r : ght, 
Swim in emptiness, men say, 
Many a mile and year away. 

And yonder star that burns so white, 
May have died to dust and night 
Ten, maybe, or fifteen year, 
Before it shines upon my dear. 

Oh ! often among men below, 
Heart cries out to heart, I know, 
And one is dust a many years, 
Child, before the other hears. 

Heart from heart is all as far, 
Fafai'a, as star from star. 

November 1913. 



Nature s Fruitfulness 

This summer on our yard-wall there does swing 
A groundsel-bush from one seed last year sown. 

A burnet moth, sun-wakened in the Spring, 
Flew out and laid its hundred eggs thereon. 

An hundred seeds each blossom on it gives, 
An hundred caterpillars eat its leaves. 

Its plumed seeds scattered by the wind now fall 
Into our yard on water and on stone. 
Here too the caterpillars over blown 

Gyrate and starve, for few can climb the wall. 

Next year again there will be one of both: 
One bush of groundsel and one burnet moth. 


A Dynasty 

Beside the reckless music of a line of waterfalls, 
Tuning my toes in the songs they throw away, 
I sit so still a spider takes my knees for his walls, 
And I do not know what year it is, I know only the day 
And the little singing moment when a spotted moth and I 
Are untroubled with each other as the shade is with the sun, 
She at last convinced that I am glad a worm can fly 
And I understanding why her tail moves up and down. 
Two pigeons are intoning, like carriers in Hangchow, 
Two cat-birds are fighting, like generals toward Peking; 
And if I were not sitting here, there might be much to do. 
But the best the world has taught me is to be at ease and sing, 
To disregard the generals, the conjurer that rules, 
The thousand bits of nonsense that make a matter wise, 
And to share the lighter reason of a dynasty of fools 
Whose premiers are waterfalls, whose courtiers butterflies. 



The Panic 

Pale in her evening silks she sat, 

That but a week had been my bride; 

Then, while the stars we wondered at, 
Without a word she left my side; 

Devious and silent as a bat, 

T watched her round the garden glide. 

Soon o'er the moonlit lawn she streamed, 
Then floated idly down the glade; 

Now like a forest nymph she seemed, 
Now like a light within a shade; 

She turned, and for a moment gleamed, 
And suddenly I saw her fade. 

I had been held in tranced stare 

Till she had vanished from my sight; 

Then did I start in wild despair, 
And followed fast in mad affright; 

What if herself a spirit were, 

And had so soon rejoined the night? 

The Firstborn 

While the chill dawn was breaking, with moist eye, 
Wonder, and heartbeat, joy, doubt, aching bones, 

Finding strange magic in that wan, cold sky, 
I, that had heard all night thy mother's groans, 

First caught thy shrill, small cry. 


Who parted life from life? What thing whence came? 

How, in one instant, woke thy little soul? 
Which moment earned for me a father's name? 

These, and the grey dawn, o'er my senses stole, 
One mystery and the same. 

Spring and Poetry 

Now Spring returns with leaf and blade, 
Some seek the garden, some the glade; 
And all to Nature turn, but I 
To the fresh fields of Poetry, 

Sweet are the first green leaves, and sweet 
The scents, and genial the first heat; 
And backed by pine or cypress glooms 
How rich the rhododendron blooms! 

Yet rich or sweet as these appear, 
They were as wonderful last year; 
And all as then move without pause 
Through the same course by the same laws. 

The flowers I meet in song are new; 
None shall forecast their shape or hue; 
To none of your dull round belong 
The seasons that unfold in song. 

The trees that sung in verse I find 
Are each its own, an unknown, kind; 
But best in all, tree, season, flower, 
Is, there's no limit to their power. 

Earth's tulip in her splendours dressed 
Is yet a tulip at the best; 
Or shall a grove heal human grief? 
One leaf is like another leaf. 


Mays eight and thirty have I known 
Thrill each my senses, till 'twas flown; 
Yet doubt if one, that pranked the ground, 
Left my soul happier than it found. 

The bluebell mist in the deep wood 
Has often made me think life good; 
Blue still they crowd by many a tree, 
But I see no less misery. 

In lilac blooms put not your trust; 
Heavenly their smell is, but they rust; 
Nor let laburnums gain great hold 
On your deep heart with their brief gold. 

Ten million beech-trees have I seen 
Pnt forth ten thousand leaves of green; 
But never yet, in grove or glade, 
Found I the leaf that would not fade. 

The gardens of the Muse remain, 
Where I can come, and come again; 
The Fancy's flowers are ever bright, 
Faint not at noon, close not at night. 

What was once, is still beautiful; 
This can I through all seasons cull; 
And culled once, will continue dewed, 
Or if it droop can be renewed. 

The woods of song endure and change; 
Those I love best I still find strange, 
And therefore never quite despair 
The cure of life to light on there. 


For when the snow lay thick around, 
And there was neither tint nor sound, 
And Fate's will was not as my will, 
I thought last winter, and think still. 

The hope that fails not, the one scent 
That leaves the spiritual sense content, 
The fruit that may redeem the fall, 
Shall be plucked here, or not at all. 



Eclipse (November 1925) 

First stole the moon's dead body past our sun, 
Darken : ng the day one golden afternoon: 

Next fell retributive our shadow dun 
Upon the round full moon. 

Such things in heaven are rare: but man, a shade, 
Fast spreading Shadows drives upon his course, 

Guideless, and shadowed by the moons he made 
Of memory and remorse. 

And if at length full dawning Joy he sees, 
Already Time's slow shadow gnaws the rim: 

Joy waning, he pursues the Shadow Peace; 
Then Death eclipses him. 



Sonnets in Summer Heat 


I too have dreamed of dark titanic rose, 
Hot in the Hanging Gardens of the Sun, 
Grass-blanched and blasted where the Unspeakable One 
Blazed in the mirror of the face of Moses, 
Or goblin gourds the slow green dawn discloses 
Enormous in quiet isles no sail has won, 
Or purple Persian forests crushed, whereon 
Some rock-hewn monster like a realm reposes. 

But though I sought dark fruits that thrive in thunder 
And dusky sunflowers turned to alien suns, 
I did not seek for wonders, but for wonder, 
Nor these wild images but more innocent ones: 
I looked for my lost eyes: which long ago 
Saw one red daisy in the flower-pot grow. 

Tall tiger rocks striped with the strata stand 
Against the devouring glories of the sun, 
Dry wells like dragons drink the sands that run, 
Red and dark grey and purple and silver sand: 
And all the multi-coloured waste is fanned 
With fans of dissolution and eclipse: 
The hollow swells with horror and the hill slips 
The changing rocks of this enchanted land. 

So moves the Desert: and the whole world's pride 
Is dust, yet knew itself for more than mire, 


When driven with the blast of all the world's desire 
Dry-throated thirst deep as the desert cried 
When God ungirt of column of cloud and fire 
Came out of Egypt to be crucified. 


Blue with the bloom of darkest grapes the night, 
The fruited night hangs swollen, as some divine 
New Delude not of water but of wine 
Might drown us not in death, but in delight: 
And purple tropic torrents from the height 
Madden the world's weeds from their flat design 
And new shapes dance and nameless colours shine 
Dizzying deep roots: the Dionysian light. 

The heavens are sealed: and though we thrive we thirst 

For that most holy Vine that holds the sky, 

The clouds the seer called bottles, that do not burst, 

Abide the breaking of that ancient cry: 

I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine 

Till with dead men I drink a deathless wine. 



The Goodwife Relents 

My dear, I cannot tell 
How it could come about 
That we who loved so well 
Should turn to falling out. 
But since the spring is come 
With running sap and leaves 
Strong-shooting from the boughs 
And swallows in the eaves; 
Since spring is come with rain 
To green and hidden ditches, 
We'll mend the purse of love 
With quick and purposed stitches. 
Haste, April flies, 
The winter bridge is down 
You must to the market 
And I must to the town. 

For you must buy a horse 

And a cow, and a cart; 

And I must buy a quartern loaf 

And half a gooseberry tart. 

You must buy a rake 

And a shovel and a hoe, 

And I must buy some flowering chintz 

And yards of calico. 

O and a rug with fringes 

To spread along the floor, 

And half-an-ounce of aniseed, 

And a handle for the door. 


The gate is off its hinges, 
The thatch is working down, 
Hey Love, to the market, 
And Ho Love, to the town. 

My dear, I cannot tell 
How it could come about 
That we, who loved so well, 
Should turn to falling out. 
But since the spring is come 
We'll have no more denying 
Of one who hid his wings 
Yet secretly was flying. 
Since spring is come with rain, 
And with the leaves of clover 
And lovelier celandine 
The fields are sprinkled over, 
Haste, April flies, 
I bid you, Love, be merry, 
Where singing hangs the thrush 
Beneath the flowering cherry! 

Fiddle Song 

Sometimes beside a violin I stand 

And look from the fine fiddle to my hand, 

And back again where potent music lies 

Pent up within its technicalities. 

Music's quiescence mocks me where I stand, 

Silent, beside its mute intricacies. 

There are three friends, and two know not each other. 
The Soul stands whispering sweetly "Sister . . . Brother 
The World's unultered music hides within . . . 
And yet the hand knows not the violin. 

81 G 


The Deer of Ireland 

An old man said, "I saw 

The chief of the things that are gone; 

A stag with head held high, 

A doe, and a fawn; 

"And they were the deer of Ireland 
That scorned to breed within bound: 
The last; they left no race 
Tame on a pleasure ground. 

"A stag, with his hide all rough 
With the dew, and a doe and a fawn; 
Near by, on their track on the mountain 
I watched them, two and one, 

''Down to the Shannon going 

Did its waters cease to flow, 

When they passed, they that carried the swiftness, 

And the pride of long ago? 

"The last of the troop that had heard 

Finn's and Oscar's cry; 

A doe and a fawn, and before, 

A stag with head held high!" 



The Unfortunate Miller 

On windy days the mill 

Turned with a will, 
But on calm days it spread 

Its four sails dead. 

The one-eyed miller man 

Laments that ban, 
And to the windless sky 

Turning his vexed eye: 

"God help/* he sadly says, 

"This business; 
A hundred days and more 

The wind's forbore, 

And lacking breezes I 

Am bound to die; 
The profit I've forgone 

In offal and grist alone 

Would have bought a cock and a hen, 

A gelt for my pen, 
And a row of asters planted 

Just where I wanted; 

But since the wind is sail 

The devil take the mill ! 
Never it rains but pours 

Let's in-a-doors." 


So in-a-doors goes he 

To see alas to see 
Not the scrapings of pan or pot 

In his famished cot. 

The tap of the clock indoors, 

The dusty floors, 
His empty crock and purse, 

Made bad seem worse. 

He looked at himself in a glass 

So thin he was! 
He looked at the time and date 

Too late! Too late! 

And creeping again to the mill 

That stood stone still, 
He tied round his neck the loop 

Of a long dark rope. 

Drove a tenpenny nail 
Into the mill's black sail, 

Hung his watch on a shelf, 
Then hung himself. 

And lo, the wind came! Beshrew, 

How the wind blew! 
And the sails and the miller dying 

Went flying, flying. 

The Young Man Under the Walnut- Tree 

Observe the rotund galleries of this walnut-tree, 

Its shales of dull stiff wax 

Ushering a pool of air, a pool and a green pavilion, 

Wherein, sweet tyrant sun, the majesty of shade 

Dips a forefinger gilded with your bloom 

To paint her modest brows. 

Behold the wimpling rye, 

The ewes, the poppies steeped in flagrant sun, 

Silent, silent, silent; but the lark 

Flying as it sings, singing only as it files, 

Spices with diamond noise the gleaming air. 

O golden world, 'that in your glorious dust 

Treasures the trick of Being, 

Flow we, all credulous, obey you! 

We are but the liabits of the earth, 

Its passion for similitude, 

For forms and forms again and forms. 

This fond bereavement from oblivion, 

This thrusting of pale buds from out the branching darkness, 

Was once with languor, with besieging sleep, 

Lapped like a dream within a dream 

Till life, life in a splendid pause, 

Began its crepitation, 

Broke intd form, engendering from the dust 

Walnuts and things like me, 

This clutching honeysuckle drunken-fumed, 

The blind newt moving, 

And martins marvellous in the sky. 

O wild sweet dust, 

Dreaming the unsleeping dream 

Of flagrant poppy, honeysuckle, breeze, 

Bird *.x the rye, earth, life, oblivion, 

From you we follow and flow, 
To you we falter and fall; 
You who are full of love, 
Love that is born of wonder and dies on the empty air. 

But love shall have days of honour 
Ere the defeat of love, 
And fine nights to dream in 
Her deep bed of rest. 



Rhyme for a Phonetician 

Brave English language, you are strong as trees, 

Yet intricate and stately. Thus one sees 

Through branches clear-embroidered stars. You please 

Our sense as damask roses on the breeze, 

And barns that smell of hay, and bread-and-cheese. 

Rustic yet Roman, yours are dignities 

Sonorous as the seas sound. On my knees 

I would give thanks for all your words. Yet these 

Our legacy and our delight he'd squeeze 

And nip and dock and drill, to write with ease 

Kornershul memoz faw the Pawchoogeese. 



Edward Thomas 

No slowworm dropped its tail for him; 

No squirrel clicked its heels in scorn; 
Because he shared in every whim 

Of every little creature born. 

For his amusement, bluetits did 

Their funny acrobatic tricks; 
And efts and water-beetles slid 

On floating leaves, or swimming sticks. 

The shadow of a passing bird 

Would touch and thrill him with delight; 
And he could hear each silent word 

Old empty houses speak at night. 

The language of a quiet place 

In lonely woods became his own; 

And Nature met him face to face, 
And mated with him there alone. 

He knew the voice of every tree; 

He caught the song of summer heat; 
While growing grass for him could be 

Sweet lyrics singing at his feet. 

And bank voles listened when he said: 
"My pretty ones, don't venture far; 

Eyases and owlets must be fed 
Continually so there you are!" 


Pied wagtails had a fearless eye 
When he was close beside their nest: 

And I have seen a linnet fly 

And cling and flutter at his breast. 

The Land of Ghosts beyond the sun 
Must be a pleasant land to find, 

If it is good enough for one 
So understanding, and so kind. 

Two in a Body 

This house of flesh and bone 

Which he and I 

Together occupy 
Together, yet alone 

May not belong to me, 

And I may be the visitor, not he. 

For what am I, and what 

Is there at all 

That I may surely call 
My own? And may it not 

So be that I am here 

But as his pensioner from year to year? 

Till now, I cannot trace 

The deeds that give 

Me any right to live 
One moment in the place; 

While he may hold a scrip 

Establishing his claim to ownership. 

He seems my friend, and yet 
I scarcely know 
How far it may be so; 

I hesitate to let 

My thoughts incline 

To one who seems both much and little mine. 

When I in mirrors look, 

And in them see 

Myself surveying me, 
As from a pictured book, 

I sometimes think he tries 

To meet me at the windows of my eyes: 

But nothing real occurs 

For my poor sake; 

Pupil and iris make 
Unkindly barriers 

Between us, that remain 

To baffle me, again and yet again. 

And just so much I know 

Of him: no more. 

And if I push each door 
Wide open as J go 

In search of him, he still 

Evades me; arid I fear he always will. 

This tenement of clay 

We live in must 

Soon crumble into dust, 
And vanish all away 

From any sight of men: 

And where will he and I be living then? 



You false Church clock, whose long-drawn chimes 

Tell me Life moves like some slow snail 
The watch beneath my pillow beats 

So fast my breath doth almost fail. 
Your solemn chime, that says I walk 

Sedately to my grave doth lie; 
I gallop faster to my doom 

Than any mortal bird can fly. 
I gallop like a startled horse, 

That leaping flames and whirlwinds chase 
Until his eyes have left his head, 

And stretch beyond his frantic face. 

Love's Caution 

Tell them, when you are home again, 

How warm the air was now; 
How silent were the birds and leaves, 
And of the moon's full glow; 
And how we saw afar 
A falling star: 

It was a tear of pure delight 
Ran down the face of Heaven this happy night. 

Our kisses are but love in flower 

Until that greater time 
When, gathering strength, those flowers take wing, 

And Love can reach his prime. 


And now, my heart's delight, 
Good night, good night; 

Give me the last sweet kiss 

But do not breathe at home one word of this! 

9 1 


The Ugly Duckling 

At last the cygnet, preening his plumed snow, 

Wins the mid-stream. Mark his new beauty well ! 
Erect, uplit he sails; in the clear flow 

Reflected, breast and wing, 
And proud beak winnowing 
The April air, all carved like a sea-shell. 

Out of deformity he grew to this 

Divinest form, burgeoning on the stream, 
A living water-flower. He scorned the hiss 
And cackle in those ranks 
That watched him from the banks; 
He knew what seed he was: he had his dream. 

And the dream raised the seed and moulded him 

In its own secret image, secretly: 
Refashioned him, curved serpentine and slim 
That delicate white neck 
Feathered without a fleck, 
Taught him his poise, shaped him the thing you see. 

O Thou that shepherdest the waddling geese 

Upon the flowery banks of Helicon, 
Bid the hoarse gabble, the upbraiding, cease, 
And guide Thy flock to see 
How lonely and leisurely 
Sails on this sunny river the young swan. 


Since I have seen the harvest-moon 
Haw heavy lies the fallow mind; 

O Lord, send forth Thy ploughmen soon 
While yet the seeds are on the wind. 



The Suicide 

Did these night-hung houses, 
Of quiet, starlit stone, 
Breathe not a whisper of "Stay, 
Thou unhappy one; 
Whither so secret away?" 

Sighed not the unfriending wind, 
Chill with nocturnal dew, 
"Pause, pause, in thy haste, 
O thou distraught! I too 
Tryst with the Atlantic waste." 

Steep fell the drowsy street; 
In slumber the world was blind: 
Breathed not one midnight flower 
Peace in thy broken mind? 
"Brief, yet sweet, is life's hour." 

Syllabled thy last tide 
By as dark moon stirred, 
And doomed to forlorn unrest 
Not one compassionate word? 
"Cold is this breast." 

In the Dock 

Pallid, misshapen he stands. The world's grimed thumb, 
Now hooked securely in his matted hair, 

Has haled him struggling from his poisonous slum 
And flung him mute as fish close-netted there. 


His bloodless hands entalon that iron rail; 

He gloats in beastlike trance; his settling eyes 
From staring face to face rove on and quail. 

Justice for carrion pants; and these the flies. 

Voice after voice in smooth impartial drone 
Erects horrific in his darkening brain 

A timber framework, where agape, alone 

Bright life will kiss good-bye the cheek of Cain. 

Sudden, like wolf he cries; and sweats to see 
When howls man's soul, it howls inaudibly. 


Suppose . . . and suppose that a wild little Horse of Magic 

Came cantering out of the sky, 
With bridle 01 silver, and into the saddle I mounted 

To fly and to fly; 

And we stretched up into the air, fleeting on in the sunshine, 

A speck in the gleam 
On galloping hoofs, his rnane in the wind out-flowing, 

In a shadowy stream; 

And, oh, when, all lone, the gentle star of evening 

Came crinkling into the blue, 
A magical castle we saw in the air, like a cloud of moonlight, 

As onward we flew; 

And across the green moat on the drawbridge we foamed and 
we snorted; 

And there was a beautiful Queen 

Who smiled at me strangely, and spoke to my wild little Horse, 

A lovely and beautiful Queen; 


Suppose with delight she cried to her delicate maidens: 
"Behold my daughter my dear!" 

And they crowned me with flowers, and then to their harps sate 

Solemn and clear; 

And magical cakes and goblets were spread on the table; 

And at window the birds came in; 

Hopping along with bright eyes, pecking crumbs from the 

And sipped of the wine; 

And splashing up up to the roof tossed fountains of crystal; 

And Princes in scarlet and green 
Shot with their bows and arrows, and kneeled with their dishes 

Of fruits for the Queen; 

And we walked in a magical garden, with rivers and bowers, 
And my bed was of ivory and gold; 

And the Queen breathed soft in my ear a song of enchantment 
And I never grew old. . . . 

And I never, never came back to the earth, oh, never and never; 

How mother would cry and cry! 

There'd be snow on the fields then, and all these sweet flowers 
in the winter 

Would wither and die. . . . 

Suppose . . . and suppose ... 


To Edmund Gosse 

In darkening clays, when old desires 
Die slowly down, like fading fires, 
What cheers us most is still the cry 
Of those who look for larger sky, 
And find, with every cloud withdrawn, 
Fresh promise of an ampler dawn. 
Your voice of yore was joined with these, 
I wish you therefore Hope and Ease, 
Health, and continued power to please. 

Christmas 1920. 

To a Lyric Poet 

When you bid rne discuss 
The status poetic, 

"Tis likely that thus 
I may grow homiletic. 

Who looks with old eyes 

On the verse-world around him, 
Sees much to surprise, 

And more to astound him. 

The old lights have ceased; 

Late suns are subsiding; 
New stars have increased 

There are others in hiding! 


Old themes are out-classed; 

Old standards arc altered 
(Let us not stone the Past 

If its mission has faltered!); 

And then, as it seems, 

Defying Apollo, 
There are metrical schemes 

Not easy to follow! 

But, where there are bells 
There must also be ringers, 

And where the heart swells 
There will always be sing' 


And each singer that sings, 
Must chant as he chooses, 

And the least likely things 

To be "scrapped" are the Muses. 

Yes: Song must endure, 
Nothing mortal can stop it; 

Let us build it up sure, 
Let us skilfully prop it! 

It lightens men's play, 

It softens their sorrow; 
It will serve for To-day, 

It will stay for To-morrow; 

It will end with the Race: 
And one minstrel rejoices 

To have lived by God's grace 
To join in the voices. 




One lied and broke his word, 
Almost I thought to hear 
Nemesis striding near. 

Yet not a footstep stirred. 

Then, to a lonely place 

By strong dreams borne away, 
Far from his tracks astray 

I saw her grim Greek face. 

"Never she draweth near; 
I erred," 1 thought. She saith 
"On his neck is my breath, 

My footfall in his ear." 



The Last JBottlc 

In all good things lurks bitterness, 

And I am sad to think 

That there will soon be left one less 

Good wine on earth to drink. 

With grave, unhurried obsequies 

It sinks and circles slow 

To join the vanished vintages 

We lived too late to know. 

But, lest the joys we seek to save 

Should find their day gone by 

And change a prison for a grave 

Or in the cellar die, 

Let no more idle moments pass 

But pass the wine about; 

For while you pause to fill your glass 

Your glass is running out. 

The empty bin we now regret 

Our sons may live to see 

Filled with a vintage finer yet 

Than port of '63. 

And yet whoever is my friend 

And at my table dines 

Shall join in drinking at the end 

The toast of ABSENT WINES. 


The Devout Angler 

The years will bring their anodyne 
But I shall never quite forget 
The fish thai I had counted mine 
And lost before they reached the net. 

Last night I put my rod away 
Remorseful and disconsolate, 
Yet I liad suffered yesterday 
No more than I deserved from fate, 

And as I scored another trout 
Upon my list of fibh uncaught, 
I should have offered thanks, no doubt, 
For salutary lessons taught. 

Alas! Philosophy avails 
As little as it used to do: 
More comfort is there still in tales 
That may be, or may not be true. 

Js it not possible to pray 
That I may see those fish once more? 
I hear a voice that seems to say, 
"They are not lost but gone before." 

When in my pilgrimage I reach 
The river that we all must cross 
And land upon thai further beach 
Where earthly gains are counted loss 

May 1 not earthly loss repair? 
Well, if those fish should rise again, 
There shall be no more parting there 
Celestial gut will stand the strain. 


And, issuing from the portal, one 
Who was himself a fisherman 
Will drop his keys and, shouting, run 
To help me land leviathan. 

Head and Heart 

I put my hand upon my heart 
And swore that we should never part- 
I wonder what I should have said 
If I had put it on my head. 


With Peter I refuse to dine: 

His jokes are older than his wine. 


With Paul I have not lately dined: 
My jokes were broader than his mind. 



Domestic Thoughts in a Bath-Room 

After a tired day the cold clean paint 
Smiles cheerfully in swathes of placid white; 
And all tke taps laugh in their brazen way 
Winking in fits and starts towards the light 

Until the steam enshrouds them, one by one . . 
And into clear green water slide from me, 
Into the glass-clear ripples all around, 
The daily cares of domesticity. 

With drowsy hand I make the eddies play, 
Forgetting, as they cleanly dance about, 
Those eddies in the sink, when down the pipe 
The thick brown water clucks and gurgles out. 

And I forget potato-skins encrusted 
With little lumps of hard unfriendly mould; 
And sullen saucepans waiting to be polished; 
And clinging paste refusing to be rolled; 

And I forget that sad diurnal skirmish, 
Chasing elusive dust on polished wood; 
And I forget that tired persistent wonder 
If cleanliness is really any good. 



Ishak's Song 

Thy dawn, O Master of the World, thy dawn, 
The hour the lilies open on the lawn, 
The hour the grey wings pass beyond the mountains, 
The hour of silence when we hear the fountains, 
The hour that dreams are brighter and winds colder, 
The hour that young love wakes on a white shoulder, 
O Master of the World, the Persian dawn! 

This hour, O Master, shall be bright for thee: 
Thy merchants chase the morning down the sea, 
The braves who fight thy fight unsheath the sabre, 
The slaves who toil thy toil are lashed to labour, 
For thee the waggons of the world are drawn 
The ebony of night, the red of dawn! 


Cobbett in Wiltshire 

(Rural Rides, August 1826) 

He rode to the wicket and reined his horse in 
Where steeplecl the hollyhocks over the wall 
And gazed on a woman who, neat as a pin, 
With two sunny children found joy in their ball. 

All rosy with playing they stared up as one 
To glimpse the strange rider whose waistcoat glared red, 
While scarcely they breathed till his question was done 
Whom Tangley enclosures and by-path misled. 

"Pray, tell me the near way towards Ludgershall 
That stands from this cottage some four miles ahead?" 
Afresh romped her young ones where clattered the ball . , 
"/ never was there in my travels!" she said. 

''Nor Maryborough, Andover . . . scarce nine miles away? 
Her eyes lit with laughter, her sweet lips were mute. 
"How far from this thatch have you strayed in your day? 
**J've been up in the Parish and over to Chute!" 

Yet, oh, she was winsomely happy and wise! 

Her daffodil beauty remotely was spun 

And Tangley's vexed footpaths led bright from her eyes 

Whose voyaging acres lay small in the sun. 



Old Testament 

I slept awhile, then woke. The night was wild 

With the high East Wind's howling a black hound 

That snarled, and rattled at the casement latch, 

And shook dry mortars down the twisted flue. 

Hound answered hound and both together lifted 

Harsh angry notes, and sadder notes that filled 

The hapless ear with fright. 

I slept and waked at whiles, all hours, and heard 

The howling though I slept. 

At last, asleep or waking, all was hushed 

And from the hush and dark 

Childish familiar images, ghosts of the nights 

Of childish loneliness and wonders and fears, 

Terrors that drummed my heart then echoing now 

The aching drumming. Whose was that figure, tall, 

Gray and still as a juniper at twilight? 

Lot's wife, Pillar of Salt, with blind face towards 

Sodom and Gomorrah smouldering in the Plain. 

Turn, turn, hoar frozen Pillar, turn yet thine eyes! 

Smouldering and guttering in the Plain they lie, 

A sullen bubble of fire, Sodom and Gomorrah, 

Abhorred and obscure names yet in my ears, 

As in my sight the sullen fiery worms 

That wrapped them strangling then . . . Turn, turn thine eyes! 

And yet she stood, and stands, hoar Pillar of Salt. 

And now two figures climbed Moriah's steep, 
A young lad bearing wood; and an old man fire 


With a bright knife at his thigh, who mournfully 

Upon the topmost mound heaved a new mound, 

With shaking purpled hands and eyes that filled. 

He laid the wood there, bound 

And laid the startled boy there, and uplifted 

The knifealready bloody in my eyes 

Ere plunged until a Voice shook from above, 

A dreadful Eye hung in the middle of heaven 

Pouring sharp rays upon the tawny Mount. 

A dreadful Eye, pursuing sleep and dreams 

And waking thought, 

From cloudless azure casting golden arrows 

Into every hole and noisome nook of fear, 

Fire-lidded eye, fire-brow'd. 'Twas not the Voice, 

It was the Eye that sank Abraham down 

With another horror than the sacrifice, 

And Isaac prone upon the waiting pyre 

Burned by that Eye of fire. 

Whose that tall shape and shining sallow front, 
Beaked nose, black brush-like hair and hawk-like eyes, 
Lean callous figure by the river's waste 
Or desert waste casting his shadow on 
Myriad slaves? And what the dreadful cloud, 
Darkening and humming death, infinite hordes, 
Dusking Imperial Egypt's self with fear? 
Horde after horde, hosts of that angered God 
Whose smoky fire burned through the locust rivers, 
These like another fire ate substance up 
And left white famine in a desert of bones. 
Saw Pharaoh this dark cloud, and snuffed that fire 
Of famine? 

Now Elijah's ravens 

Flying to the brook to drink, beheld him prone, 
And dropped, as grim Jehovah bade, foul meats 
For the sad prophet's need, 


Who in the loneliness of loneliness 

Raised fleshless arms to plead 

For death, or the Lord's judgment on his foes. 

The ravens dropping offal, craking death, 

Black missive wings between starved earth and hell, 

Black wings that rose, 

Circled and fell, 

Gave place and rose no more. 

Jordan's pale shallow stream it was and on the shore 

Tumult of wondering tongues; no ravens now, 

A dove between John and Jesus fluttering, 

Neck-ringed with black, and nimbus'd with pale flame, 

And tipt with sapphire flame the light-like wing, 

And treading fire when o'er the twain she hung 

Between the fierce face and the patient brow 

Of John and Jesus as they stood and parted. 

And then the raven wings, and notes 

Returned of desert throats. 


Maybe the wind was slaked awhile and slept, 

Or I slept though it raved; but as I turned 

The vixen East barked out anew and brought 

Voices again that muttered in childish sleep 

When sleep was innocent. 

Beneath a white Tower lay the tissued corpse 

Yet gleaming and yet warm with running blood. 

The city curs crept out and smelt the blood 

Oozing upon the supple golden tissue, 

Less supple than the breast and thighs beneath. 

Their yelping called new yelping and the dogs 

Of that dense kennel sprang and wrangled together, 

Their muzzles bloodied with the Queen's warm veins 

While others stood and snarled, " Behold the Queen/' 

And one leaned evil from the Tower and snarled, 

"So ends Queen Jezebel, blessed be the Lord!" 

1 08 

His sharp teeth gleaming like the writhing curs' 
That licked the blood and dust that late was hers. 

The blood and dust. I saw the dust curl up 
Chasing the bronz'd wheels of the car that drew 
The corse of Hector soiled in the dust of Troy; 
Moody Achilles frowning as he threw 
His armour down like a discarded toy. 

And there Prince Absalom, murdered yet beloved, 

Hanging from the fatal tree, 

His long hair caught amid the ravaged boughs 

Of the sere festering wood, 

And gray-winged shafts amid his careless breast, 

Under the Judas tree. 

And other ghosts I saw 

King David casting dust upon his head, 

And Sheba's satraps decked on camel towers, 

And weary Solomon, wise and cold, 

Nodding on a throne of gold; 

Caesar's chill craft lined in his hueless smile, 

Great-helmed Antony clamouring on Egypt's sands 

Beside the ageless Pyramids and old Nile . . . 

Image with image self-confused confusing, 

And in the wind's rage all old fears reviving, 

Terrors that startled childhood, quick and numbing, 

Again, the haunting drumming; 

And O, again, as once, again thy breast, 

Mother, that rocked my heart to rest; 

Though when I woke and knew that not again 

Thy breast would still me, sharper yet my pain. 


Baxter Print 

Against a tree that might be any tree, 
Mid leaves of every season, sits a lady 
In silk and velvet, with equable soft eyes. 
Her hair is like a shell smooth with the sea, 
Her face is porcelain; and in that sh^dy 
Green stirless bower she sits, beyond surprise, 
And in her lap an unread letter lies. 

Is it that colour makes the loveliness? 

Is it that never-recoverable serene? 

Is it the lingers lying gently laced? 

Is it the mingling light and shadowiness 

That draws my eyes, the ever-living green 

That draws my heart? Never to be embraced, 

Maybe, by warm soft hands her hidden waist. 

Love loves not reasons, and I know not why 

I love her; maybe but because she is mine, 

Or because first on her my questions fell 

As I peered at her with a childish eye, 

And hers looked down at me with tranquil shine, 

While I thought of the letter that might well 

If she dare read it all her story tell. 


Homer and Milton blind, Beethoven deaf, 
And Collins mad and Savage famishing, 
And Marlowe huddled into a forgotten grave, 
And Chatterton and sorrows everywhere 
Loading the witless air: 

Calamity and Death hunt the same wood, 
One strikes if other misses; neither rests, 


Making of Eden daily desolation, 
A bloody amphitheatre of Earth, 
Cinders of April turf. 

The enemies of Poetry, the fierce thieves 

Of beauty's and creation's miracle, 

Twin Caesars ravaging their captived Kingdoms, 

For envy slaying what else lives undecaying, 

Or maiming without slaying . . . 

If there were worser ills than Death to dream of, 
Worse pangs than hunger's and the numbed sense, 
If even the long foul solitude of the grave 
Ended not other griefs of other men, 
And other fears; even then 

Poetry needs must breathe through lips of man 
Desperate defiance and immortal courage, 
Needs must hope bicker in his burning eye, 
And Death and hunger, madness and despite, 
Sink sullenly from sight. 

Last Lines 1 

When I look out I see the fail- 
Counterpart of a happy dream: 
Green rollers hissing on broad sands, 
Willows o'erwaving a still stream. 

When I look in how dense and foul 
The waters of my angry flood, 
With fevers clinging to furred boughs 
And ancient serpents in my blood ! 

1 This is the last poem John Freeman wrote. It was written on August i , 
1929, after a walk in Norfolk. He died on September 23, not having 
polished it. 


O bitter mock of this and that! 
How should I with a simple gaze 
Meet this enchantment of pure sense 
Unhaunted by sick yesterdays? 

How look with single joy upon 
The leaping hounds* eternal flight 
The long downs leaping with the waves, 
The vexed waves barking through the night; 

How should not all be gloomed and wronged 
By images of fear and ill; 
Echo fall menacing on my ear, 
And muted shame unfix my will? 

Age, with unabating passions, 
Narrows upon me; yet I cry 
Unending for youth's fresh devices 
That lit my past and made this "I." 

Is it the petty scourge of thought, 
This malady of small regrets, 
Misfeatures all I dream upon 
And mars the joy that sight begets? 

How great the puny Ego swells 
In the distinction of remorse! 
Shadows grotesquely darken over, 
Clear eyes grow dim, pure voices coarse. 

O folly ! self-forgetting is sole bliss, 
Self-idolism the steepest hell, 
Like the East Wind that seres the earth, 
Self dries up every human well. 


Look farther Down the lane there swings 
A young bull, prince-like mid his thralls; 
Deep-breasted, mountain-thewed, serene 
As Hector pacing Troy's proud walls. 

The lowlier herd sways slowly after, 
Milk-laden; now the last step dies. 
The heat breathes heavy, lingering, while 
Shrill martins strip the orchard skies. 

And still beyond, remotely clear, 

The green hounds in long, lovely motion 

Follow the cloudy deer, and stretch 

Their supple thighs towards the sleek ocean. 


The Rose Family 

The rose is a rose 
And was always a rose, 
But the theory now goes 
That the apple's a rose 
And the pear is, and so's 
The plum I suppose. 
The dear only knows 
What will next prove a rose. 
You of course are a rose 
But were always a rose. 

To E. T. 

I slumbered with your poems on my breast 
Spread open as I dropped them half-read through 
Like dove wings on a figure on a tomb 
To see if, in a dream, they brought of you. 

I might not have the chance I missed in life 
Through some delay, and call you to your face 
First soldier, and then poet, and then both, 
Who died a soldier-poet of your race. 

I meant, you meant, that nothing should remain 
Unsaid between us, brother, and this remained 
And one thing more that was not then to say; 
The Victory for what it lost and gained. 


You went to meet the shell's embrace of fire 
On Vimy Ridge; and when you fell that day 
The war seemed over more for you than me, 
But now for me than you the other way. 

How over, though, for even me who knew 

The foe thrust back unsafe beyond the Rhine, 

If I was not to speak of it to you 

And see you pleased once more with words of mine: 

The Need of Being Versed in Country Things 

The house had gone to bring again 
To the midnight sky a sunset glow. 

Now the chimney was all of the house that stood 
Like a pistil after the petals go. 

The barn opposed across the way, 

That would have joined the house in flame 

Had it been the will of the wind, was left 
To bear forsaken the place's name. 

No more it opened with all one end 
For teams that came by the stony road 

To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs 
And brush the mow with the summer load. 

The birds that came to it through the air 
At broken windows flew out and in, 

Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh 
From too much dwelling on what has been. 

Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf, 

And the aged elm, though touched with fire; 

And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm; 
And the fence post carried a strand of wire. 

For them there was really nothing sad. 

But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept, 
One had to be versed in country things 

Not to believe the Phoebes wept. 

A Favour 

The way a crow 

Shook down on me 
The dust of snow 

From a hemlock tree 

Has given my heart 
A change of mood 

And saved some part 
Of a day I had rued. 




When there's no fiercer fire to light 
Than burns of coal, and it is night, 
And babes are sleeping overhead, 
And quietness with creaking tread 
Stops at the door and tries the lock, 
And no one talks but Granfer clock 
At odds with Time against the wall, 
And even Time's trumpets faintlier call 
Then, when all's tranquil but my heart, 
I sign that peace with conscious art, 
Set my two candles' straitened light 
Above the table's polished night, 
Take down the Patience pack, and deal 
Piles that in gleaming order seal 
With law the lawless fount of doubt, 
And try to get the Wrangler out. 

Now Godhead broods, with whispers terse, 
Over a pasteboard Universe. 
Steadfast behind his darting eyes 
Burns the One Way to Paradise. 
And all untouched by Sin and Woe 
Under quick hands his creatures go 
Complacently from height to height 
Unerring, while twin suns their light 
Cast on dark mazes of Design, 
And at Fulfilment glorious shine, 
When Growth and Will for ever stop 
With Kings, divinely right, on top. 


For there's no Adversary here 

But Chance who (demonstrably clear) 

Himself is finite, his blind claw 

Blunted by mathematic law. 

And if his puny power should toil 

Successfully to twist the coil, 

This is a gem in Godhead's crown: 

To cast his whole Creation down 

In silent overthrow. For then, 

When Kings are dust with common men 

And hearts with clubs have been confused 

And diamonds with base metal fused, 

What's easier than to face the Void 

With Will refreshed, Desire uncloyed, 

And with old Law (or other new) 

Carry the Cosmic Process through? 

Old crazy king, you were most wise 
To solace your sad glittering eyes 
And soothe your restless hands with these 
Strange ministers to kingly ease; 
And with what witless blind largesse 
First carved these gauds, a world to bless ! 
Cards are such gay fantastic things, 
At their cool touch illusion springs, 
And spreads a never-hopeless strife 
For all who're not too good at life. 
Tedious spinsters' faded eyes 
Kindle above them gay surmise; 
All children love them; old men play 
From whom the world has rolled away; 
And even youth in doubtful hour 
Summons this painted ghost of power. 


Abnormal Psychology 

I am, they say, a darkling pool 
Where huge and cunning lurks a fool 
Childish and monstrous, untaught of time, 
Still wallowing in primeval slime. 
All poY r erful he with fang and claw 
To fill his red capacious maw, 
And not a thousand thousand years 
Have eased his belly, stilled his fears. 
But ever with dim consuming fire 
Swirl the slow eddies of desire 
About his sprawling limbs, and lull 
The torments of his brutish skull. 
He is most merciless, lone and proud, 
There in the scaly darkness bow'd, 
And sleeps, and eats, and lusts, and cries, 
And never lives, and never dies. 

Nay, but above this stagnant night 
The lovely highways of the light 
Sweep on with winds and dawning flowers 
And stoop to touch its midnight hours. 
If I am he, I'm also one 
With all that's brave beneath the sun, 
With lovers' singing, and tall great trees, 
And the white glory of morning seas. 
What of this silence, so there stay 
Child's laughter to the end of day? 
And what of dark, if on the hill 
Eve is a burning opal still? 




Too many now lament the times grown evil, 
See only clouds across the pallid moon, 
For all these night-owls hooting fear so often 
Give me one cockerel greeting dawn too soon. 

To Socrates returned, one stopped, made answer, 
"Look in the air, and see those highways strange; 
Look in the earth, and see how deep men burrow." 
"And the soul?" -"Socrates, souls do not change." 

Since all can travel, each returns to show 
His boots from Burmah, hat from Tennessee, 
His necktie purchased in the booths at Delhi, 
And his religion patch-work from all three. 

Of nine men met, eight tell me, when I meet them, 
War is the one thing they will never swallow. 
The fence seems sure, but do not worry, Caesar, 
Once the first sheep has jumped the rest will follow. 

Struck with soul-sickness, Modernus has hastened 
To Nux, the mind physician, to be whole. 
One devil cast, seven entered, he's instructed 
That he was wrong and that he has no soul. 

Pity that author who in ten years* time 
Attempts to win his book a modest sale; 
Incest, adultery so well exploited, 
There's nothing left to make a brave proud tale. 



The snake had shecl his brindled skin 
To meet the marching feet of spring; 
With bar, curve, loop and whirling ring 
The patterned swathes, papyrus-thin, 
Lay on the cage's sanded floor 
Marked with dragging python-spoor. 

Flick-flack! Like ash on vulcanite 
His eyes and lids in the spatulate 
Head were alive with watchful hate, 
Daring the sounds and the raw spring light. 
He shone like watered silk from his tongue 
To his tapering tail where the skin-shreds hung. 

The cloudy yellow of mustard flowers 
Was barred on his skin with jetty flares 
And the five-patched circle the leopard wears: 
The sea-shell's convolute green towers 
Were called to mind by his belly's hue 
That faded to pallid egg-shell blue. 

He was covered so to face the sun; 

That shadows of leaves might match his skin; 

That, where the lily roots begin, 

You might not see where the snake begun; 

That Man might see, when Snake was dressed, 

God in snake made manifest. 

Mrs. Fand wore a fox round her wrinkled throat; 
He was killed at dawn as he snarled his threat 
In a bracken-brake where the mist lay wet. 
Two men were drowned in a shattered boat 
Hunting the whale for the silk-bound shred 
That balanced her bust with her henna'd head. 

An osprey's plume brushed her fallen chin, 
And a lorgnette swung on a platinum chain 
To deputise for her sightless brain. 
Her high-heeled shoes were of python skin, 
Her gloves of the gentle reindeer's hide, 
And to make her card-case a lizard died. 

She watched the flickering counter-play 
As the snake reared up with tongue and eye 
Licking the air for newt and fly; 
And shook herself as she turned away 
With a tolerant movement of her head: 
"The nasty, horrid thing!" she said. 



By the Weir 

A scent of Esparto grass and again I recall 

The hour we spent by the weir of the paper-mill 

Watching togethe^ the curving thunderous fall 

Of frothing amber, bemused by the roar until 

My mind was as blank as the speckless sheets that wound 

On the hot steel ironing-rollers perpetually turning 

In the humming dark rooms of the mill: all sense and discerning 

By the stunning and dazzling oblivion of hill-waters drowned. 

And my heart was empty of memory and hope and desire 
Till, rousing, I looked afresh on your face as you gazed 
Behind you an old gnarled fruit-tree in one still fire 
Of innumerable flame in the sun of October blazed, 
Scarlet and gold that the first white frost would spill 
With eddying flicker and patter of dead leaves falling 
I looked on your face, as an outcast from Eden recalling 
A vision of Eve as she dallied, bewildered and still, 

By the serpent-encircled tree of knowledge that flamed 
With gold and scarlet of good and evil, her eyes 
Rapt on the river of life: then bright and untamed 
By the labour and sorrow and fear of a world that dies 
Your ignorant eyes looked up into mine, and I knew 
That never our hearts should be one till your young lips had 

The core of the bitter-sweet fruit, and wise and toil-wasted 
You should stand at my shoulder an outcast from Eden too. 




When I returned to Sevilla, 
The only hands that were proffered 
Were those of the church door beggars, 
Held out for the alms I offered. 

But when I cried out to Sevilla: 
Your heart to my heart has grown colder, 
A rose was let fall in my pathway 
And a dove flew down to my shoulder. 


Fr rim Our Ghostly Enemy 

The fire was already white ash 

When the lamp went out 
And the clock at that signal stopped: 
The man in the chair held his breath 

As if Death were about. 

The Moon shone bright as a lily 

On hib books outspread. 
He could read in that lily light: 
"When you have endured your fill, 

Kill!" the book read. 

The print being small for his eyes, 

To ease their strain 
A hasty candle he lit, 
Keeping the page with his thumb. 

"Come, those words again!" 

But the book he held in his hand 

And the page he held 
Spelt prayers for the sick and needy. 
"By God, they are wanted here/' 

With fear his heart swelled. 

"I know of an attic ghost, 

Of a cellar ghost, 

And of one that stalks in the meadows 
But here's the spirit I dread," 

He said, "the most. 


"Who without voice or body 

Distresses me much, 
Twists the ill to holy, holy to ill, 
Confuses me, out of reach 

Of speech or touch. 

"Who works by moon or by noon, 

Threatening my life. 
I am sick and needy indeed. 5 ' 
He then went filled with despairs 

Upstairs to his wife. 

He told her these things, adding 

"This morning alone 
Writing, I felt for a match-box: 
It rose up into my hand 

Understand, on its own. 

"In the garden yesterday 

As I walked by the beds, 
With the tail of rny eye I caught 
'Death within twelve hours' 
Written in flowers' heads/' 

She answered him, simple advice 
But new, he thought, and true. 
"Husband, of this be sure 
That whom you fear the most, 
This ghost, fears you. 

"Speak to the ghost and tell him 

'Whoever you be, 
Ghost, my anguish equals yours; 
Let our cruelties therefore end. 

Your friend let me be.'" 


He spoke, and the ghost, who knew not 

How he plagued that man, 
Ceased, and the lamp was lit again, 
And the dumb clock ticked again. 
And the reign of peace began. 

A Lover Since Childhood 

Tangled in thought am I, 

Stumble in speech do I? 

Do I blunder and blush for the reason why? 

Wander aloof do I, 

Lean over gates and sigh, 

Making friends with the bee and the butterfly? 

Jf thus and thus I do, 

Dazed by the thought of you, 

Walkmg my sorrowful way in the early dew, 

My heart cut through and through 

In this despair of you, 

Starved for a word or a look will my hope renew, 

Give then a thought for me 

Walking so miserably, 

Wanting relief in the friendship of flower or tree, 

Do but remember, we 

Once could in love agree, 

Swallow your pride, let us be as we used to be. 

The Cool Web 

Children are dumb to say how hot the sun is, 
How hot the scent is of the summer rose, 
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky, 
How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by. 


But we have speech, that cools the hottest sun, 
And speech, that dulls the hottest rose's scent. 
We spell away the overhanging night, 
We spell away the soldiers and the fright. 

There's a cool web of language winds us in 
Retreat from too much gladness, too much fear: 
We grow sea-green at last and coldly die 
In brininess and volubility. 

But if we let our tongues lose self-po^ision 
Throwing off language and its wateriness 
Before our death, instead of when death comes, 
Facing the brightness of the children's day, 
Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums, 
We shall go mad no doubt and die that way. 




Night; the unwelcome sound of rain ; 

Streets storm-swept, bleak and bare; 
And through the blurred and streaming pane 

An unknown city's glare. 

Here have I no remembrancer: 

I have no heart to see 
These streets which were so dear to her 

And are so strange to me. 




When tobacco came, when Raleigh first did bring 

The herb unfabled, the plant of peace, the king 

Of comfort bringers, then indeed new hope 

Came to the host of poets with new scope, 

New range of power, since one henceforth might sit 

Till midnight and still further, and the war of wit 

More kindly and warm coloured till dawn came in 

And pierced the crevices with daylight thin. 

Raleigh he knew, but could not the impossible 

Terror of flying steel and bronze foretell 

Hurtle, scream and impact of to-day's missile, 

Nor the imaginary hurt on the body's vessel. 

Raleigh he knew by friendly camp-fire, nights round; and took 

Company, warmth, wine grave counsel with careless joke, 

But could not guess that Gloucester men would hide 

Five cigarettes a day or more inside 

Their breast the one thing unsodden, or go supperless 

The better next day's tobacco taste to bless 

Wonder at fogs, stars, posts, till headaches came 

To keep those five small tubes in number the same. 

The Very lights, grasses, sandbags, rifle-touches, mud 

Crampt in uncouth postures men crouched or stod 

For woodbine breakfast or the spilling of blood. 

Raleigh, rapier or pistolet who handled, 

Could not conceive the great cylinder bundled 

Incredibly through air, not the holding off 

From imagination the bellow, the blast-cough 

Minnie-werfer she had in her cross times, 

And what comfort the beloved brown vegetable 


Should bring to fear brave men past soul unable, 
Or well had blessed his curling, unmatched fumes 
Himself the patron saint of tobacco takers, 
Whether on field of battle or in warm-lit rooms. 


One comes across the strangest things in walks: 

Fragments of abbey tithe barns fixed in modern, 

With Dutch-sort houses, where the water baulks, 

Weired up, and brick-kilns broken among fern; 

Old troughs, great stone cisterns priests might have blessed 

For mere liking, most worthy mounting-stones; 

Black timber in red brick, surprisingly placed 

Where hill-stone was looked for; and a manor's bones 

Spied in the frame of some wisteria'd house; 

And mill-falls and sedge-pools, and Saxon faces; 

Stream sources happened upon in unlikely places; 

And Roman-looking hills of small degree. 

The surprise, the good in dignity of poplars 

At a road's end, or the white Cotswold scars 

Sheets spread out spotless against the hazel-tree. 

And toothless old men, bubbling over with jokes, 
And deadly serious once the speaking finished. 
Beauty is less, after all, than strange comical folks, 
And the wonder of them never and never can become 


The Idol 

"See," said the artist, while with languid care 
He posed before his goddess, "how sublime 

The primitive invention was, how bare 
Of inessentials! We, in this dead time 

Of outworn schools and theories, have need 

To go to those first masters for our creed. 

"In this rough stone more vision is expressed 

Than* in your prettiest nudes. This flat-turned thigh, 

And this long plane of shoulder and of breast, 
For their consummate Tightness make me sigh. 

How absolute! how abstract! and how fine 

A harmony of angle, plane and line ! 

"Pure art is here, that has no reference 

To anything external does not tie 
Itself to apron-strings of moral sense, 

Or flatter bourgeois minds with mimicry 
Of actual objects, or give weak assent 
To fussy vanity or sentiment. 

"Of course'* and here his voice took on a tone 
Of deprecating softness "there are few 

Who can love Art for her own sake alone: 
It needs the single aim, the vision new, 

Irrelevant human motives to reject, 

And worship her with the pure intellect." 


I heard his homily and did not speak, 
But from his idol's grim archaic smile 

Fancied her granite tongue was in her cheek 
Mocking her priest with unsuspected guile, 

Remembering with what worship she was fed 

When knives flashed, and her altar-stones ran red: 

When to that rigid and half-moulded shape 
Of inhumanity her curveless breast, 

Her taut half-separate limbs, her mouth agape 
In hard grimace were offered up the best 

Of growing life, the bodies dark-skinned, smooth, 

Supple and trembling-swift of eager youth. 

Above the chant of the priest, the beat of the drum, 
The clamour of the multitude, the scream 

Of writhmg victims, cold, impassive, dumb, 
Bloodless she stood, insatiate, supreme 

The crowned Idea of Vengeance, first elect 

Terrible sovereign of man's intellect. 


At noon three English dowagers ride 

Stiff of neck and dignified, 

Margaret, Maud and Mary Blake, 

With servile barges in their wake: 

But silhouetted at mid nigh% 

Darkly, by green and crimson light, 

Three Nubian queens pass down the Thames 

Statelily with flashing gems. 



Ten paces round me solid earth stretches, 

Moving as I move through impalpable regions 
Of space unbounded, unreal, untenanted, 
Or tenanted, if tenanted, by powerless anatomies, 
Unbreathing hosts, phantom legjons. 

Ochreous lights hang, stars of an underworld, 
In the bronze vapour. Unsupported branches 

Trail a thin tapestry. Softly, a footfall ! 

Passes a shadow, a tall shadow what memory, 
As of a fierce dream, her face blanches? 

So to yEneas, moving obscurely 

Through the dim groves and Avernian meadows, 
So may have shone the white face of Dido, 
Silently scorning him, scorning his entreaties 

Then fled away through crowding shadows. 


Where a stone path between high walls 
Rings each day to my dull footfalls, 
A vine with overhanging spray 
Close-bordering gardens does betray. 
So likewise treads my walled-in thought 
Dull ways of habit, guessing nought 
Of how the curves go close along 
To Beauty's wine and light and song. 



Waiting Both 

A star looks clown at me, 
And says: "Here I and you 
Stand, each in our degree: 
What do you mean to do 
Mean to do?" 

I say: "For all I know, 
Wait, and let Time go by, 
Till my change come." "Just so,' 
The star says: "So mean I 
So mean I." 

On the Portrait of a Woman About to be Hanged 

Fair and capable one of our race, 
Posing there in your gown of grace, 
Plain yet becoming; 

Could subtlest breast 
Ever have guessed 
What was behind that innocent face, 
Drumming, drumming 1 

Would that your Causer, ere knoll your knell 
For this riot of passion, might deign to tell 
Why, since It made you 
Good in the germ, 
It sent a worm 

To madden Its handiwork, when It might well 
Not have assayed you, 


Not have implanted, to your deep rue, 
The Clytasmnestra spirit in you, 
And with purblind vision 
Sowed a tare 
In a garden fair, 
And a thing of symmetry to the view 

Brought to derision ! 
6th January 1923. 

Voices from Things Growing 

These flowers are I, poor Fanny Hurcl, 

Sir or Madam, 
A little girl here sepultured. 
Once I flit-fluttered like a bird 
Above the bents, as now I wave 
In daisy shapes above my grave, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

I am one Bachelor Bowring, "Gent," 

Sir or Madam; 

In shingled oak my bones were pent; 
Hence more than a hundred years I spent 
In my growth of change from a coffin-thrall 
To a dancer in green as leaves on a wall, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

I, these berries of juice and gloss, 

Sir or Madam, 

Am clean forgotten as Thomas Voss; 
Thin-urned, I have burrowed away from the moss 
That covers my sod, and have entered this yew, 
And turned to clusters ruddy of view, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

The Lady Gertrude, proud, high-bred, 

Sir or Madam, 

Am I this laurel that shades your head; 
Into its veins I have stilly sped, 
And made them of me; and my leaves now shine, 
As did my satins superfine, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

I, who &s innocent withwind climb, 

Sir or Madam, 

Am one Bet Greensleeves, in olden time 
Kissed by men from many a clirne, 
Beneath sun, stars, in blaze, in breeze, 
As now by glow-worms and by bees, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

Fni old Squire Audley Grey, who grew, 

Sir or Madam, 

Aweary of life, and in scorn withdrew; 
Till anon I clambered up anew 
As ivy-green, when my ache was stayed, 
And in that attire I have long time gayed 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 

And so they breathe, these growths, to each 

Sir or Madam 

Who lingers there, and their lively speech 
Affords an interpreter much to teach, 
As their murmurous accents seem to come 
Thence hither around in a radiant hum, 

All day cheerily, 

All night eerily. 


The Woman I Met 

A stranger, I threaded sunken-hearted 

A lamp-lit crowd; 
And anon there passed me a soul departed, 

Who mutely bowed. 

In my far-off youthful years I had met her, 
Full-pulsed; but now, no more life's debtor, 

Onward she slid 
In a shroud that furs half-hid. 

"Why do you trouble me, dead woman, 

Trouble me: 
You whom I knew when warm and human? 

How it be 

That you quitted earth and are yet upon it 
Is, to any who ponder on it, 

Past being read!" 
"Still, it is so," she said. 

"These were my haunts in my olden sprightly 

Hours of breath; 
Here 1 went tempting frail youth nightly 

To their death; 

But you deemed me chaste me, a tinselled sinner! 
How thought you one with pureness in her 

Could pace this street 
Eyeing some man to greet? 

"Well, your very simplicity made me love you 

'Mid such town dross, 
Till I set not Heaven itself above you, 

Who grew my Cross; 

For you'd only nod, despite how I sighed for you; 
Yea, tortured me, who fain would have died for you ! 

What I suffered then 
Would have paid for the sins of ten ! 

"Thus went the days. I feared you despised me 

To fling me a nod 
Each time, no more: till love chastised me 

As with a rod 

That a fresh bland boy of no assurance 
Should fire me with passion beyond endurance, 

While ethers all 
I hated, and loathed their call. 

"I said: 'It is his mother's spirit 

Hovering around 
To shield him, maybe!' I used to fear it, 

As still I found 

My beauty left no least impression, 
And remnants of pride withheld confession 

Of my true trade 
By speaking; so I delayed. 

"I said: 'Perhaps with a costly flower 

He'll be beguiled.* 
I held it, in passing you one late hour, 

To your face: you smiled, 

Keeping step with the throng; though you did not see there 
A single one that rivalled me there! . . . 

Well, it's all past. 
I died in the Lock at last." 

So walked the dead and I together 

The quick among, 
Elbowing our kind of every feather 

Slowly and long; 

Yea, long and slowly. That a phantom should stalk there 
With me seemed nothing strange, and talk there 

That winter night 
By flaming jets of light. 


She showed me Juans who feared their call-time, 

Guessing their lot; 
She showed me her sort that cursed their fall-time, 

And that did not. 

Till suddenly murmured she: "Now tell me, 
Why asked you never, ere death befell me, 

To have my love, 
Much as I dreamt thereof ?" 

I could not answer. And she, well westing 

All in my heart, 
Said: "God your guardian kept our fleeting 

Forms apart!'* 

Sighing and drawing her furs around her 
Over the shroud that tightly bound her, 

With wafts as from clay 
She turned and thinned away. 

Going and Staying 

The moving sun-shapes on the spray, 
The sparkles where the brook was flowing, 
Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May, 
These were the things we wished would stay; 
But they were going. 

Seasons of blankness as of snow, 
The silent bleed of a world decaying, 
The moan of multitudes in woe, 
These were the things we wished would go; 
But they were staying. 

A Glimpse from the Train 

At nine in the morning there passed a church, 
At ten there passed me by the sea, 


At twelve a town of smoke and smirch, 
At two a forest of oak and birch, 
And then, on a platform, she. 

Her I could see, though she saw not me: 
I queried, "Get out to her do I dare?" 
But I kept my seat in my search for a plea, 
And the wheels moved on. O could it but be 
That I had alighted there! 



The Puritan 

The Puritan through Life's sweet garden goes 
To pluck the thorn and cast away the rose, 
And hopes to please by this peculiar whim, 
The God who fashioned it and gave it him. 



The Angler's Legacy 

His rod, his creel, his parchment book: 
These were his loved companions then, 

What time his single way he took 
Remote from anxious haunts of men. 

Mark well his rod: its lissom strength 
Plays to the bidding hand once more, 

But who could cast his wondrous length 
And yet so fine as he of yore? 

His, well-worn book: with reverent care 
The pages turn and, see, how trim 

The motley flies are ordered there 
In shining coils as left by him. 

These deemed he likeliest when the sun 
At noon rode imminent on high, 

And those when earliest hours had run 
Or gathering clouds possessed the sky. 

His osier basket ! Furnished still 
As he would fish again to-day 

Ah, mourn with me the frustrate will, 
The harmless purpose gone astray! 

No more the willowed stream beside, 
With changing art as change the hours, 

He lingers now till eventide, 

Half-hid in affluent water-flowers; 


No more with laggard step and slow 

He wends his homeward way when fades 

From field and stream the sunset glow 
And ghost-moths fleck the musky shades; 

Nor lifts the latch, nor sees within 

The cheerful board, nor tells liis tale 

What monsters failed he just to win! 

How bright the sun, how fierce the gale! . 

Belike, in some far other sphere, 
His tribute paid of praise and song, 

He, should'ring now celestial gear, 
With good Saint Peter goes along 

To net the sapphire sea; or roves, 
With joy at heart no words can tell, 

At dawn, the amaranthine groves, 
The dew-drenched fields of asphodel; 

To find at last the crystal brook 
And see, with unexpectant thrill, 

Old Izaak watch with steadfast look 
The endless hours his patient quill. 

Doubt not that whereso'er he be 
And what his fate he still doth find 

In angling joys, tranquillity, 

Contentment for the simple mind. 



In Westminster Abbey 

Forgotten peers in marble, semi-nude, 
Loll nymph-clipt, and their bright examples yiel< 
Old Gladstone still cold-shoulders Beaconsfield 
And ponders on his own beatitude. 
The other, proffering his back, as rude, 
Though all vehement bloods are long congealed, 
Stands truculent as if the organ pealed 
Complacent confirmation of the feud. 

King, poet, proser, player side by side 
With fools their relics rot, and these their curled 
Proud images proclaim our patron saints. 
But here are windows for the soul that faints, 
While the great door upholds, too oft uneyed, 
God and His Mother smiling at our world. 



One or two have lived and died 
Made the world worth living in. 

But to think of them is pride 
Sets the heart above its din. 

Not the ones with ringing names 
They are legends that display 

Something raised them o'er the flames 
That, in warming, crack our clay. 

But the casual wayfarers 

Who, though little met or known, 
Have such gifts and graces theirs 

That our minds become their throne. 

By some freedom in the gait, 
Turn of head, or fearlessness, 

They, beyond their estimate, 
Blunt the edge of our distress. 

By some token in the eye, 
They in all their doing, give; 

Make us not forget we die, 
But rejoice that yet we live. 

Many such, not beautiful 

(Save in mind nor wholly there), 
Make this life's dark duty full 

For that moment when their hair 


Gave point to a pointless crowd, 
Or they spoke, or did not, till 

Our hearts rise to cry aloud; 
Cry one moment, then be still. 

The Dying Fall 

When the music's ended, 


Rest you then behind. 
We've been one, in music blended: 
Let flesh follow mind. 

Let flesh follow mind 

Now, lady. 

'Twas flesh did convey 
Sound to souls and by it my words 
In your heart make way. 

In your heart make way, 

Grave lady, 
Settle logic's debt. 

Though our souls alone were ravished 
We are mortal yet. 

We are mortal . . . yet, 

Live lady, 

While flesh is our frame 
Love has power to loose its fetters 
In consuming flame. 

In consuming flame, 

Fast master p , 
Hell's the place to burn. 
Sheep-gut haled us up to heaven; 
But to earth we turn. 


But to earth we turn, 

Dull lady, 

There to be earth-wise. 
Even Eve still went with Adam, 
Leaving Paradise. 

Leaving Paradise! 

'Las, lady 
We must, if we go 
From these rooms whose leafy arras 
Teach us what they know. 

Teach us! What they know, 

Quiet lady, 
Surely we may guess? 
Have we fallen too low to answer 
When our instincts press? 

When our instincts press, 

My lady, 

Think how sweet will be 
Uncasing of the lute to play on't 
Our high symphony. 

Music rarefies, 

Young master^ 
Hearts immoderate; 
Quintessentialises passions 
To a rarer state. 

To a rarer state 

Of loving, 
Lady, how can we 
E'er attain, that scorn the proving 
Of such joys as be? 


Deep the music throbs 

And rushes, 
Rocks the bursting air. 
Then finds rest on cheeks as blushes, 
Sinks as gold on hair. 

Light the candlelight 

Falls on you. 
Light your bodice springs 
(Needs no Orpheus to draw music, 
Lady, from such strings). 

While the music runs 

Quick, lady! 
Urge it through each vein. 
Then when we are where are tapers 
It will out again. 

It will out again, 

(Hey, lady!) 
Lifting us above 

(As that bird the brier outwarbles) 
Our more meagre love. 

Our more meagre love, 

Gay lady 

(Since we're wise and old), 
Needs such trills and titivating 
That the charm may hold. 

Ah, but music finished, 


Is of love s own kind: 
Both as echoes only sweetly 
Sound unto my mind. 


As I listened, 'twas my last love. 


Drew my smiles. 

My last, not your first, love master /- 
Let you try your wiles. 

A City Progress 

O, O the sights I see 
Stab into the heart of me. 

A woman on the kerb a-seat 

(All her hearthside in that street), 

Mending chairs to bring her food. 

And mid the plaiting-straws her brood 

Rout it with a single doll: 

They are thieves soon, she a troll. 

But what games might the thing have led 
With legs like other dolls, and head; 
What dreams might it not have roused 
Were its sawdust stronglier housed? 
And how might they the future tell 
Were only earth different from hell? 

At Christmas once I heard a boy 
Bid his mother buy a toy. 
"Such," she said, "are not for you. 
I've the winter to get through." 
But I saw the love that broke 
On her eyes as her lips spoke. 

0, the sights I see. 
Stab into the heart of me. 

Every night old women snore 

By Wyndham's and New Theatre door, 


Twitching bones and shivering rags 
Shuffled and shaken and tied in bags. 

What would they do 
With bodies new 
And minds smoothed plain? 
Come te this again? 

"They are at starvation's brink," 
Whiskers kindling charity. 
"Work they might, did they not drink"; 
Reason clutches hold of me. 

Men whose best remains a ghost 
Die in lives that pay the most 
For keeping soul still in its cage; 
And men whom nothing can assuage 
For missing all that's life in them; 

And men with anger rife in them, 
Against their fathers, whose blind lust 
Handed on this urge to thrust. 

Sometimes with averted eye 
A coin I drop as I pass by, 
Knowing alms have late been found 
Economically unsound: 
For were they let die, no more 
Would the poor dare to be poor. 
They must die, and we must live 
Put up then what you would give. 
'Tis unfit such men were born. 
Yet, with pity, spare your scorn. 

For O, O the sights I see 

Stab through to the heart of me. 

/ Say to Myself 

Rest, weary brain. 

This is the time for sleep. 

You may not raise again 

The hopes fallen deep, 

Too deep, 

With power thus overlain 

By days that are too steep. 

Rest, rest leave 

This muffled trafficking. 

Half now can only grieve, 

Half has forgot to sing. 

Ah, bring 

Poppies to powder eve, 

Not rue, not mandrake's sting. 

Rest, weary mind. 

When world's work is fordone 

Turn not again to find 

Your own life unbegun, 

Nor run, 

Thus fettered. Pull the blind 

'Gainst that unruly sun. 

Rest, for another day 
Claims all you have to give. 
You trickle strength, this way; 
And if 

Dreams be your life, how may 
You dreamless life forgive? 



The Singing Furies 

The yellow sky grows vivid as the sun; 
The sea glittering, and the hills dun. 

The stones quiver. Twenty pounds of lead 
Fold upon fold, the air enlaps my head. 

Both eyes scorch: tongue stiff and bitter. 
Flies buzz, but no birds twitter: 
Slow bullocks stand with stinging feet, 
And naked fishes scarcely stir for heat. 

White as smoke, 

As jetted steam, dead clouds awoke 
And quivered on the Western rim: 
And then the singing started: dim 
And sibilant as rime-stiff reeds 
That whistle as the wind leads. 
The North whispered low and sere: 
The South answered loud and clear, 
And thunder muffled up like drums 
Beat, whence the east wind comes. 
The heavy sky that could not weep 
Is loosened: rain falls steep, 
And thirty singing furies ride 
To crack the sky from side to side. 
They sing, and lash the wet-flanked wind: 
Sing, from Col to Hafod Mynd: 
Fling their voices half a score 
Of miles along the mounded shore: 

Whip loud music from each tree, 

And roll their paean out to sea 

Where crowded breakers fling and leap, 

And strange things throb five fathoms deep. 

The sudden tempest roared and died. 
The Singing Furies muted ride , 
Down wet and slippery roads to hell: 
And silent in their captors' train 
Two fishers, storm-caught on the main, 
A shepherd, battered with his flocks, 
A pit-boy tumbled from the rocks: 
A score of back-broke gulls, and hosts 
Of shadowy, small, pathetic ghosts 
Of mice and leverets caught by flood : 
Their beauty shrouded in cold mud. 




Spring is past and over these many days, 

Spring and summer. The leaves of September droop, 

Yellowing afid all but dead on the patient trees. 

Nor is there any hope in me. I walk 

Slowly homeward. Night is as empty and dark 

Behind my eyes as it is dark without 

And empty round about me and over me. 

Spring is past and over these many days; 

But, looking up, suddenly I see 

Leaves in the upthrown light of a street lamp shine 

Clear and luminous, young and so transparent, 

They seem but the coloured foam of air, green fire, 

No more than the scarce embodied thoughts of leaves; 

And it is spring within that circle of light. 

Oh, magical brightness ! the old leaves are made new. 

In the mind, too, some coloured accident 

Of beauty revives and makes all young again. 

A chance light meaninglessly shines and it is spring. 



Unrest in Love 

(For M. E. A.) 

Out of the world I come to you, where strife 
Is daily intercourse, and the feverous 'light 
Of battle is the guiding- torch of life 
Out of this world I come to you to-night. 
And out of seas, ship-wrecking, salt, and grey, 
Full of shrill winds, and the wild sea-bird's cry, 
Where the waves cease not to rise, falling away, 
My love, I come to you; here let me lie. 

For neither arms, nor ships tossed by the s,ea, 
Nor age, nor winds, can reach unto your breast; 
And I lie on your breast, and dream drowsily 
Of love that is a sleep, and turn to my rest. 
Yet Love cries out, even as I kiss your lips, 
To forge strange armour, and to man new ships. 


Sonnet in a Mirror 

Men have looked down into those eyes and seen 

Beauty; and that same mouth has suckled deep 

The breast cf passion and the breast of sleep. 

That face has stared at horror, and has been 

Itself a holiness inviolate; 

Has winced for pity, and been bright with laughter, 

And looked upon itself in silence, after 

The untrue word, the hope that could not wait. 

Strange that it all has left so little trace. 

The gaze that meets my own is still the lonely 

Marvelling quiet of a child; she sees 

Only the dream go by her eyelids, only 

The dream . . . and all those changing memories 

Become but shadows, brushing her rapt face. 



Now to the World 

Now to the world well go, my body and I, 
Leaving the comfortable nights and days, 
The books where wise old men in wise old ways 
Wrote down their thoughts of life in years gone by. 

Snap up the switch, and let the darkness down; 
Shut the two doors; deliver up the key. 
These things pass on to others; but for me 
They have grown lifeless I must seek my own. 

Picture and book, most taciturn, most dear; 
Hearth where I burned my more ambitious rfiymes; 
Room where I dreamed of life a thousand times; 
Scene of so many a joy and fancied fear, 

There is no break in this farewell. I go, 
Eager as sailors to the uncharted sea 
To wreck or Eldorado steadfastly; 
Whither, save hence, I do not care nor know. 

Here I have laid my little-practised hand 
To many a task, as children play, for learning; 
Here I have told my closest secrets, burning 
With strong affection for some intimate friend. 

Here we have laughed, or argued, man with man, 
Till the quick double pulse of midnight sounded; 
Have mocked at Time and Death, and been confounde< 
Have spoken glibly of the race we ran. 

And here, in silence, as the impatient morning 
Hovered behind the elms, I spoke with Sorrow; 
Clung to wild prophecies of hope to-morrow; 
Prayed to T know not Whom, and met day scorning. 

Here it was hard to lose, if only dreams; 
And here, where empty walls return my stare, 
A strong imagination, passionate, clear, 
Opened a window upon love, it seems: 

Better than art, by trembling fingers made; 
The portrait of a queen without her crown, 
A thing alive, with magic looks cast down, 
And moving lips, by cunning truth portrayed . . . 

Close the two doors. Deliver up the key. 
There is no break in this farewell to peace 
No frown or smile to signify release 
Snap up the switch; and let the darkness see! 



A snake came to my water-trough 

On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 

To drink there. 

In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob tree 
I came down the steps with my pitcher 

And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the 
trough before me. 

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom 
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over 

the edge of the stone trough 
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom, 
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small 


He sipped with his straight mouth, 

Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body, 

Someone was before me at my water-trough, 
And I, like a second-comer, waiting. 

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do, 
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do, 
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused 

a moment, 

And stooped and drank a little more, 
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of 

the earth 
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking. 

1 60 

The voice of my education said to me 
He must be killed, 

For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are 

And voices in me said, If you were a man 

You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off. 

But must 1 confess how I liked him, 

How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at 

my water-trough 

And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless, 
Into the burning bowels of this earth? 

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? 
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? 
Was it humility, to feel honoured? 
I felt so honoured. 

And yet those voices: 

If you were not afraid you would kill him. 

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, 
But even so, honoured still more 
That he should seek my hospitality 
From out the dark door of the secret earth. 

He drank enough 

And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, 

And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, 

Seeming to lick his lips, 

And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air, 

And slowly turned his head, 

And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream, 

Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round 

And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face. 

161 M 

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole, 

And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and 

entered further, 
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into 

that horrid black hole, 
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing 

himself after, 
Overcame me now his back was turned. 

I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 

I picked up a clumsy log 

And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter. 

I think it did not hit him, 

But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed 

in undignified haste, 
Writhed like lightning, and was gone 

Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front, 
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination. 

And immediately I regretted it. 
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act! 
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human 

And I thought of the albatross, 

And I wished he would come back, my snake. 

For he seemed to me again like a king, 

Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld, 

Now due to be crowned again. 

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords 

Of life. 

And I have something to expiate: 

A pettiness. 



Sonnet : I Did Not See 

I did not see the red rose-petal shed, 
I did not hear the cuckoo sing his last, 
I did not catch the swallow as he passed, 

I did not heed that midsummer was dead. 

1 did not dream, and nothing could foretell, 
What age to youth had whispered as I slept; 
I did not know the anguished tears I wept 

Were love's last tribute to love's last farewell. 

Had I but caught the passing flight of all, 
Had I but seen my youth with summer fled, 

Had I but known the bitter end of bliss . . . 
1 might have vanished with the cuckoo's call, 
I might have fallen with the roses red, 

I might have burned on love's last burning kiss. 

". . . Another Mans Poison' 

Oh! fol-de-rol-ray-do 
I dressed in my best, 
With the stars in my eyes, 
And the moon at my breast, 
And the sun in my hair; 
While the sheen of my gown 
Was of the mist on the bracken 

And soft as swan's down. 

With a girdle of pebbles 
Still wet from the stream, 

And for jewels the dewdrops 
Which hold the sun's beam. 
My necklace a chain 
Of forget-me-not sweet, 
And two little red roses 
For shoes on my feet. 

Though I stood close beside him 
As near as could be 
Oh! fol-de-rol-ray-do 
He did not see me! 
And what did I care 
Though he did not see me? 

With a fol-de-rol-ray-do. 

Oh! fol-de-rol-ray-do 

I sang him a song 

Which is ever too short. 

Which is never too long, 

Of the robin, the owl, 

And the little brown bee, 

And the small mole who burrows 
As deep as can be 

To hide from our sight. 

I sang of the crying 

Of gulls in the dawn, 

I sang of the sighing 

Of wind in the corn, 

Of sunshine and rain. 

And when my song ended 
I sang it again ! 

Oh! fol-de-rol-ray-do, 
As a frog I must sing, 
For I saw very plain 
He was not listening ! 


And what did I care 

He was not listening? 

With a fol-de-rol-ray-do. 



Why is the heart so mad, when curbed might be 
To other work than love in our best days 
The forces of its splendid lunacy? 
If from that fugitive desire our gaze 
Should parted be, then we might set our hand 
To some high torch whence we could light a fire, 
A beacon lifted on a lonely strand. 
A strand where ever bitter winds conspire 
To wreck the little slender craft, who face 
The waves' dark tumult, and in blindness wait 
One ray of light across that raging space 
For guidance, till the storms of chance abate. 
Yet none may stay the plunder of the sea, 
And in the heart of man the tides run free. 


/ Know All This, When Gipsy Fiddles Cry 

Oh, gipsies, proud and stiff-necked and perverse, 
Saying: "We tell the fortunes of the nations, 
And revel in the deep palm of the wor'ld. 
The head-line is the road we choose for trade. 
The love-line is the lane wherein we camp. 
The life-line is the road we wander on. 
Mount Venus, Jupiter, and all the rest 
Are finger-tips of ranges clasping round 
And holding up the Romany's wide sky." 

Oh, gipsies, proud and stifl-necked and perverse, 
Saying: "We will swap horses till the doom, 
And mend the pots and kettles of mankind, 
And lend our sons to big-time vaudeville, 
Or to the race-track, or the learned world. 
But India's Brahma waits within their breasts. 
They will return to us with gipsy grins, 
And chatter Romany, and shake their curls 
And hug the dirtiest babies in the camp. 
They will return to the moving pillar of smoke, 
The whitest-toothed, the merriest laughers known, 
The blackest-haired of all the tribes of men. 
What trap can hold such cats? The Romany 
Has crossed such delicate palms with lead or gold, 
Wheedling in sun and rain, through perilous years, 
All coins now look alike. The palm is all. 
Our greasy pack of cards is still the book 
Most read of men. The heart's librarians, 
We tell all lovers what they want to know. 

1 66 

So, out of the famed Chicago Library, 

Out of the great Chicago orchestras, 

Out of the skyscraper, the Fine Arts Building, 

Our sons will come with fiddles and with loot, 

Dressed, as of old, like turkey-cocks and zebras, 

Like tiger-lilies and chameleons, 

Go west with u~ to California, 

Telling the fortunes of the bleeding world, 

And kiss the sunset, ere their day is done." 

Oh, gipsies, proud and stiff-necked and perverse, 

Picking the brains and pockets of mankind, 

You will go westward for one half-hour yet. 

You will turn eastward in a little while. 

You will go back, as men turn to Kentucky, 

Land of their fathers, dark and bloody ground. 

When all the Jews go home to Syria, 

When Chinese cooks go back to Canton, China, 

When Japanese photographers return 

With their black cameras to Tokio, 

And Irish patriots to Donegal, 

And Scotch accountants back to Edinburgh, 

You will go back to India, whence you came. 

When you have reached the borders of your quest, 

Homesick at last, by many a devious way, 

Winding the wonderlands circuitous, 

By foot and horse will trace the long way back! 

Fiddling for ocean liners, while the dance 

Sweeps through the decks, your brown tribes all will go ! 

Those east-bound ships will hear your long farewell 

On fiddle, piccolo, and flute and timbrel. 

I know all this, when gipsy riddles cry. 

That hour of their homesickness, I myself 
Will turn, will say farewell to Illinois, 


To old Kentucky and Virginia, 
And go with them to India, whence they came. 
For they have heard a singing from the Ganges, 
And cries of orioles from the temple caves 
And Bengal's oldest, humblest villages. 
They smell the supper smokes of Amritsar. 
Green monkeys cry in Sanskrit to th^ir souls 
From lofty bamboo trees of hot Madras. 
They think of towns to ease their feverish eyes, 
And make them stand and meditate fo ever, 
Domes of astonishment, to heal the mind. 
I know all this, when gipsy fiddles cry. 

What music will be blended with the wind 
When gipsy fiddlers, nearing that old land, 
Biing tunes from all the world to Brahma's house? 
Passing the Indus, winding poisonous forests, 
Blowing soft flutes at scandalous temple girfs, 
Filling the highways with their magpie loot, 
What brass from my Chicago will they heap, 
What gems from Walla Walla, Omaha, 
Will they pile near the Bohdi Tree, and laugh? 

They will dance near such temples as best suit them, 
Though they will not quite enter, or adore, 
Looking on roofs, as poets look on lilies, 
Looking at towers, as boys at forest vines, 
That leap to tree-tops through the dizzy air. 
I know all this, when gipsy fiddles cry. 

And with the gipsies there will be a king 
And a thousand desperadoes just his style, 
With all their rags dyed in the blood of roses, 
Splashed with the blood of angels, and of demons. 
And he will boss them with an awful voice. 


And with a red whip he will beat his wife. 

He will be wicked on that sacred shore, 

And rattle cruel spurs against the rocks, 

And shake Calcutta's walls with circus bugles. 

He will kill Brahmins there, in Kali's name, 

And please the thugs, and blood-drunk of the earth. 

1 know all this, when gipsy fiddles cry. 

Oh sweating thieves, and hard-boiled scallywags, 

That still will boast your pride until the doom, 

Smashing every caste rule of the world, 

Reaching at last your Hindu goal to smash 

The caste rules of old India, and shout: 

"Down with the Brahmins, let the Romany reign." 

When gipsy girls look deep within my hand 

They always speak so tenderly and say 

That I am one of those star-crossed to wed 

A princess in a forest fairy-tale. 

So there will be a tender gipsy princess, 

My Juliet, shining through this clan. 

And I would sing you of her beauty now. 

And I will fight with knives the gipsy man 

Who tries to steal her wild young heart away. 

And I will kiss her in the waterfalls, 

And at the rainbow's end, and in the incense 

That curls about the feet of sleeping gods, 

Arid sing with her in canebrakes and in ricefields, 

In Romany, eternal Romany. 

We will sow secret herbs, and plant old roses, 

And fumble through dark snaky palaces, 

Stable our ponies in the Taj Mahal, 

And sleep outdoors ourselves. 

In her strange fairy mill-wheel eyes will wait 

All windings and unwindings of the highways, 


From India, across America 
All windings and unwindings of my fancy, 
All windings and unwindings of all souls, 
All windings and unwindings of the heavens. 
I know all this, when gipsy fiddles cry. 

We gipsies, proud and stiff-necked and perverse, 

Standing upon the white Himalayas, 

Will think of far divine Yosemite. 

We will heal Hindu hermits there with oil 

Brought from California's tall sequoias. 

And we will be like gods that heap the thunders, 

And start young redwood trees on Time's own mountains. 

We will swap horses with the rising moon, 

And mend that funny skillet called Orion, 

Colour the stars like San Francisco's street-lights, 

And paint our sign and signature on high 

In planets like a bed of crimson pansies; 

While a million fiddles shake all listening hearts, 

Crying good fortune to the Universe, 

Whispering adventure to the Ganges waves, 

And to the spirits, and all winds and gods, 

Till mighty Brahma puts his golden palm 

Within the gipsy king's great striped tent, 

And asks his fortune told by that great love-line 

That winds across his palm in splendid flame. 

Only the hearthstone of old India 

Will end the endless march of gipsy feet. 

I will go back to India with them 

When they go back to India whence they came. 

I know all this, when gipsy fiddles cry. 



(Remembering how Walker Whiuside played Hamlet in Springfield 
so often In Chattertons Old Opera House, thirty years ago) 

Horatio took me to the cliff 

Upon the edge of things 

And said: "Behold a cataract 

Of the thrones of old dream kings.' 5 

And I saw the thrones falling 

Fronj the high stars to the deep: 

Red thrones, green thrones, 

To everlasting sleep. 

I saw thrones falling 

From the zenith to the pit: 

Crowns of man's mighty moods 

And whims of little wit. 

And all the birds of Elsinore 

Flew round Horatio's head 

And crying, said: 

"Though all the crowns go down, 

Hamlet, Hamlet, will never lose his crown." 

Oh monarchs muddled, stabbed and lost, 

Who have no more to say: 

Gone with Caesar, with the Czar, 

And the Kaiser on his way! 

But now I see a student-prince 

More real than all such kings, 

Hamlet, home from Wittenberg, 

And every bird sings: 

"Though all the crowns go down, 

Hamlet, Hamlet, will never lose his crown." 

Some of the dreams we saw dethroned 
Were merely hopes of mine: 
One that a child might love me, 
And give one leaf for a sign; 


One dream I had in babyhood 
That my rag-doll was alive; 
One that I had in boyhood 
That a sparrow, caged, would thrive. 
One that I had for years and years 
That my church held no disgrace. 
One that I had but yesterday: 
Faith in Wisdom's face. 

Oh royal crowns, falling fast 

From the days of boy's delight, 

The frost-bright time when first I made 

A giant snow-man white. 

And the time of my first Christmas tree, 

My first Thanksgiving Day, 

My first loud Independence dawn 

When the cannon blazed away. . . . 

Oh high fantastic hours 

That died like dog and clown, 

Into the awful pit 

We saw their crowns go down, 

But Hamlet, Hamlet, will never lose his crown. 

As sages walk with sages 

On the proud Socratic way, 

Hamlet struts with players 

Till the world's last day. 

With seeming shameless strollers 

He swaggers his black cloak, 

With a prince's glittering eye 

He spoils the townsmen's joke. 

As I watch him and attend him 

He compels them to give room, 

And makes Fifth Street our battlement 

Against the shades of doom. 


With poetry, authority, 
With every known pride 
Hamlet stands with drawn sword, 
His Gipsies at his side. 

And all the gardens of the town 

Are but Ophelia's flowers, 

And all the shades of Elsinore 

Fly round our Springfield towers; 

And Camlet kneels by all the hearts 

That truly bleed or bloom, 

As saints do Stations of the Cross 

To Christ's white tomb. 

And all the birds keep singing 

To my heart bowed down: 

"Hamlet, Hamlet, will never lose his crown.' 


The Faithless Shepherd 

With nice observance of the rules 
And precepts of the pastoral schools, 
A shepherdess, as fair as pure, , 
Beneath a hedgerow sat demure. 
With conscious grace before her feet 
Her swain lay faithfully supine, 
Essaying neatly to combine 
Positions patently discreet 
With rustic notions of design. 

Hedge-high the wild small roses grew 
To kiss the breeze, and yet there blew 
In Phoebe's cheek a wilder rose 
That Corin watered with his woes. 

Of sighs and chosen words he twined 
A cunning thread to trap and bind 
The bird that sang in Phoebe's heart; 
With careful hand he spread the lime, 
The tuneful tears, the weary rhyme, 
Of tattered, patched Italian art, 
And tirelessly reset the snare 
Of piping music's gusty ware. 

Yet loving he observed the rules 
Laid down for use in pastoral schools, 
And all advantages eschewed 

Of Phoebe's solitude. 


And still in spire of poetry 
And this too subtle courtesy, 
She tarried coldly continent; 
No signal of surrender flamed, 
Though orthodoxy clearly claimed 
A maidenly consent. 

There s.tood in shade of friendly grass 
A jug with sweet cool wine a-brim, 
And, weary of his Lover's Mass, 
Tall Corin took the sacrament 
A readier chalice offered him. 
The honest wine first cooled his head, 
And led back laughter, that had fled 
The solemn ritual of love. 

And in a little while 
The countryside, that once had been 
A placidly enamelled screen, 
He saw as mile on waving mile 
Of grass that grew more richly green, 
Of flowers, and jolly rotund hills, 
Of deeply chuckling meaclow-rills, 
And marching roads; while far above 
The portly clouds that statelily 
Had stalked across the level sky, 
Were tripped and tumbled by the wind 

In coltish merriment. 

Till, peering through the wine, half-blind 
.And swimming up in slow ascent, 
The bottom of the honest jug 
Appears like Truth, ail soft and snug 
And pinkly naked in her well. 

Then Corin laughs. His glances dwell 
Once more on Phoebe, and he sees 
The wild-rose flaming in her cheek. 


And now no more on pilgrim knees 
He pleads a docile love and meek, 
But boldly clips her in his arms 
And quiets her modest faint alarms 
With kiss on eager kiss that sips 
The rose-red nectar of her lips. 
And now his love grows kind to feel 
The soft white arms that slowly steal 
About his neck. Now Phcebe's kisses, 
Each one Love's virgin young Ulysses, 
In turn seek rest on Conn's lips. . . . 

A vagrant cloud for mockery 
Slid solemnly athwart the sun, 
And in the leaves, half-breathlessly, 
A tiny breeze hid shivering. 
Hedge-high the wild small roses flare, 
Whose petals, gravely curtseying, 
Blow softly clown on Phoebe's hair. . . i 

And still the bottom of the jug, 
With innocent, unwinking eye, 
Stared nakedly into the sky. 


The Log 

The night grew late; in quiet the room lay waiting, 
Faint clicked the dying embers in their fall, 

Faintly the curtains stirred. 
Then, 'mid the hush a key's sharp grating, 
A sudden gust that shook the hall, 

The cry of a wakened bird, 
A light, a rustle of silk, quick steps on stone 
Back from the dance at last she came bright-eyed, alone. 

She came, she knelt beside the fire that dwindled, 
Once more she made its pallid embers glow, 

Till the flame, upflickering, 
Gleamed on a log that lay unkindled, 
Where summers forgotten long ago 

Had circled ring on ring: 
Dreaming, she saw again her childhood's tree, 
Green in the windy orchard, as it used to be. 

She could read her life between these rings she fingered 
There was last summer's, broad with weeks of rain, 

And next (how near it lay!) 
Another ring where her counting lingered, 
The year of a marriage made in vain 

And a face that looked away; 
Less, ever less their narrowing circles grew, 
Backward and ever back she dreamed her girlhood through. 

Like lines upon a hand they lay before her, 
On a dead hand whose destinies are done; 

177 N 

Or some old palimpsest 
Whose secret nothing could restore her; 
Or a web the spider Time had spun 

To snare what she loved best; 
Or rounded ripples on a windless sea, 
Where life had dropt in the stillness of eternity. 

Slowly the grey dawn broke; the room grew colder; 
But still she sat and watched the embers die, 

Like one who sees his death: 
So, when summer scarce seems older, 
In the full flush of late July, 

Some dawn there comes a breath, 
A whisper in the air, along the grass, 

That the days draw on towards autumn and shorten as they 


A Fine Night in Winter 

This night of sweetly perfumed air 

Should not have fallen to December's share, 

This is such perfume as young April breathes 

When violet-girdled Spring her garland wreathes, 

When wallflowers crowd the borders, and in the sun 

Hyacinth bells are opening one by one, 

And tulip buds are red-stained at the tips, 

And pear-trees are like full-rigged sailing-ships 

In such a place, on such a day stood I, 

And watched fine weather walking in the sky, 

Through pearly clouds threaded the azure day 

And winter seemed a thousand years away. 

Here are no flowers, and overhead I see 
A quick star leaping in a leafless tree 
Not to December's iron share 
This night of perfumed air! 



At the End of Term 

I have given so much I could not well give more, 

And they have taken as each one well could take; 

Their footmarks are still dust upon my floor. 

The echoes of their voices are still awake; 

Out of dim corners their eyes are watching still, 

Searching my soul, and judging of me thereby 

A thing of good a fool a tool of ill 

As what they find seems truth or all a lie. 

I have given them much too much; for it was all 

I am or could be. If it nothing seem, 

Then it is nothing, and beyond recall; 

And what it was I gave they do not dream. 

For in my soul, of their bright souls bereft, 

Save for their memories now, nothing is left! 

For the Dead who died Young 

I am glad for the dead 

Who died before spring 
Had learned to bring grief 
With the budding leaf 

And the new-fledged wing; 

For eyes that have seen 
The heavens* full arc 

Span worlds of delight, 

And are shut to-night 
In the mouldy dark; 

1 80 

For ears that have heard 

The eternal breath 
Blow spring to the shore, 
And can hear no more, 

Being stuffed with death. 

For hearts that have known 
Young love, and the sweet 

Desires, and the pain, 

Ancf never again 

Shall tremble and beat: 

For these I rejoice 
I mourn not. O, fair 

Were their days, though brief: 

Before life was grief, 
And April despair. 



"Ilst Cocule Chefde Gare" 

The Teuton sang the "Wacht am Rhein" 

And "Lieber Augustin," while we 
Had "Long, long Trail" and "Clementine" 

And "Old Kit Bag" (to give but three); 

Good songs, and yet, you must agree, 
The poilu's therne was richer, vaster, 

Double-distilled felicity! 
"He has been duped the station-master!" 

A joyous thought, an anodyne 

For gelignite and T.N.T.: 
A song to cure those saturnine 

Red singing-men of Battersea; 

And, whosoever wrote it, he 
Deserves a tomb of alabaster 

Graven on which these w r ords should be: 
"He has been duped the station-master!" 

When I am tired of Gertrude Stein 

("She said she said that she said she . . ."!), 

When the expressionistic line 

Has palled, and Sitwells weary me, 
When bored with psycho-prosody, 

Obscurist and grammaticaster 
Give me that song of Picardy: 

"He has been duped the station-master!" 



Prince, did you hear the soldiery 
Singing of that obscure disaster 

(Zenith of Gallic pleasantry) 
"He has been duped the station-master!"? 




Along the yellow road the brown hogs go 
Between the thin woods stained with summer's death- 
Waving the little banners of their brefath 
Above their round backs* undulating flow. 

Their ears are blinders and their gaze too low 
To see how like a lidless bloodshot eye 
Pressed to the frosted pane of morning sky 
A sly sun coldly watches where they go. 

Their ears are blinders and they only see ( 
The road is freedom, where their feet may go. 
They nose the dust, the air, and do not know 
The gate is shut and latched that set them free. 

The road spreads on; the poles hum overhead. 
The brown hogs snuff their way and do not know 
The leaf-stained roadside brook that does not flow 
Is no more cold than warm blood quieted. 

But no such happy ignorance is given 
To us who put our feet upon their tracks ! 
We know too well how there behind our backs 
A gate is shut and we are also driven. 



A House of Dreams 

Did I love you with all my heart? 
And were you trembling on the brink 
Of lo T jfe, before you turned away 

In waywardness and scorn? 
In what strange garden shall I say 
Bloomed that exotic flower apart, 

Our love forgotten and forsworn, 
And what fell poison did it drink 

That now it droops, all withered and forlorn? 

The twilit palace of your soul 
I did adorn with radiant things, 

That dusky house, where shadows flit 

Ghostlike, and cold winds sigh; 
And there the lamps of Heaven I lit, 
Through empty galleries I stole, 

Hearing celestial minstrelsy, 
Feeling the brush of angel's wings. 

I thought we loved each other, you and I. 

There had I lived and died content, 
And stayed for ever as your guest, 
And made my Eden here with you, 

Found Heaven in your eyes. 
Now distant ways I must pursue, 
And wander, till my strength is spent, 

Along the endless road, that lies 
Before the pilgrim soul, whose quest 
Is always for some farther Paradise. 


The Poet and his Book 


Here are my thoughts, alive within this fold, 
My simple sheep. Their shepherd, I grow wise 
As dearly, gravely, deeply I behold * 
Their different eyes. 

Oh distant pastures in their blood ! Oh streams 
From watersheds that fed them for this prison ! 
Lights from aloft, midsummer suns in dreams, 
Set and arisen. 

They wander out, but all return anew, 
The small ones, to this heart to which th^y clung; 
"And those that are with young," the fruitful few 
That are with young. 

Time s Reversals 
A Daughter s Paradox 

To his devoted heart 

Who young had loved his ageing mate for life, 1 
In late lone years Time gave the elder's part, 
Time gave the bridegroom's boast, Time gave a younger wife. 

A wilder prank and plot 
Time soon will promise, threaten, offering me 
Impossible things that Nature suffers not 
A daughter's riper mind, a child's seniority. 

1 Dr. Johnson, dying thirty years later than his wife, who was twenty 
years his senior, for ten years therefore looked back on a younger wife. 


Oh, by my filial tears 

Mourned all too young, Father! On this my head 
Time yet will force at last the longer years, 
Claiming some strange respect for me from you, the dead. 

Nay, nay! too new to know 
Time's conjuring is, too great to understand. 
Memory has not died; it leaves me so 
Leaning a fading brow on your unfaded hand. 

The Poet to the Birds 

You bid me hold my peace, 

Or so I think, you birds; you'll not forgive 
My kill-joy song that makes the wild song cease, 

Silent or fugitive. 

Yon thrush stopt in mid-phrase 

At my mere footfall; and a longer note 

Took wing and fled afield, and went its ways 
Within the blackbird's throat. 

Hereditary song, 

Illyrian lark and Paduan nightingale, 
Is yours, unchangeable the ages long; 

Assyria heard your tale; 

Therefore you do not die. 

feut single, local, lonely, mortal, new, 
Unlike, and thus like all my race, am I, 

Preluding my adieu. 

My human song must be 

Mv human thought. Be patient till 'tis done. 
I shall not ever hold my peace; for me 

There is no peace but one. 


To Memory 

O deeper than the noontide seems when blue, 

Conceived as of yet finer woof than air, 

Where, as clouds form, folk cherished, moments rare, 

Fitfully gleam and pass . . . romance all true, 

Yet never real enough, thou wild deceit, 

Drug us till we, no longer what we are, 

Love as we loved ! . . . Reluming star by star 

Night falls and tears with thy far glances meet. 

Thou dream of dreams, which most we can retrieve 
And least forget, for thee dramatic truth 
Drapes in fresh silks the tragedy of youth. 
Yet as they act, our eyes, once blind, perceive 
Much those performers are too fond to note 
Till phantom sobs catch in a shrivelled throat. 



The Flower of Battle 

The summer twilight gently yields 

To star-sown luminous night, and close 

The flowers in these Flemish Fields 
Are folded, still the leaves repose; 

But, as the colour leaves the sky, 

And darkness wraps a suffering earth, 

Clamouring, climbing endlessly 
Another blossom springs to birth: 

The Flower of Battle, down the wide 
Horizon mantles, tendrils spread, 

Its far-hung petals brilliant dyed, 
Yellow, and blinding white, and red. 

Fed with our bodies at its root, 

Fed with our hearts its living flame, 

It sways in wonder absolute, 

And Flower of Battle is its name. . . . 

Men will gaze, awestruck, men will strive 

. To reach its glowing heart . . . and some 
May turn away while yet alive, 

But few from out its shade may come ! 



Nobis Cum Pereant 

Nobis cum pereant amorum 

Et dulcedines et decor, 
Tu nostroTum praeteritorum^ 

Anima mundi, sis memor > 

On the mind's lonely hill-top lying 

I saw man's life go by like a breath, 
And Love that longs to be love undying, 

Bowed with fear of the void of death. 
"If Time be master," I heard her weeping, 

"How shall I save the loves I bore? 
They are gone, they are gone beyond my keeping - 

Anima mundi^ sis memor! 

"Soul of the World, thou seest them failing 

Childhood's loveliness, child's delight 
Lost as stars in the daylight paling, 

Trodden to earth as flowers in fight. 
Surely in these thou hast thy pleasure 

Yea! they are thine and born therefor: 
Shall they not be with thy hid treasure? - 

Anima mundi^ sis memor! 

"Only a moment we can fold them 

Here in the home whose life they are: 
Only a moment more behold them 

As in a picture, small and far. 
Oh, in the years when even this seeming 

Lightens the eyes of Love no more, 
Dream them still in thy timeless dreaming 

Anima mundi, sis memor! " 




The night you died, the air was full of sighing, 

From jungle passes blew the sickening breeze, 
Across the moon a dingy smoke was flying, 

The black palms tossed and tossed the bounding seas, 
The warm gusts filled the tent where you were lying 

And swayed the lantern light across your knees, 
The crepitant crickets everywhere were crying 

Between the sighs and sudden silences. 

Right well you knew, and we, that you were dying 

Self-exiled, self-disgraced, self-overthrown, 
You who had spent youth, blood and bone denying 

Blood of your blood, bone of your very bone. 
We spoke: you grinned, in iron derision eyeing 

The proffered cup. Then between groan and groan 
Forced out your last: "God damn you and your prying 

Why can't you let ... a bastard ... die alone?" 

The night you died, the air was full of sighing. 

Night Rhapsody 
(For Florence Lamont) 

How beautiful it is to wake at night 
When over all there reigns the ultimate spell 
Of complete silence, darkness absolute, 
To feel the world, tilted on axle-tree, 
In slow gyration, with no sensible sound, 


Unless to ears of unimagined beings, 

Resident incorporeal or stretched 

In vigilance of ecstasy among 

Ethereal paths and the celestial maze, 

The rumour of our onward course now brings 

A steady rustle as of some strange ship, 

Darkling with soundless sail all set and amply filled 

By volume of an ever-constant air, 

At fullest night, through seas for ever calm, 

Swept lovely and unknown for ever on ! 

How beautiful it is to wake at night, 
Embalmed in darkness, watchful, sweet, and still 
As is the brain's mood flattered by the swim 
Of currents circumvolant in the void, 
To lie quite still and to become aware 
Of the dim light cast by nocturnal skies 
On a dim earth beyond the window-ledge, 
To brood apart in calm and joy awhile 
Until the spirit sinks and scarcely knows 
Whether self is or if self only is 
For ever . . . 

How beautiful to wake at night 

Within the room grown strange and still and sweet 

And live a century while in the dark 

The dripping wheel of silence slowly turns, 

To watch the window open on the night, 

A dewy silent deep where nothing stirs, 

And, lying thus, to feel dilate within 

The press, the conflict and the heavy pulse 

Of incommunicable sad ecstasy 

Growing until the body seems outstretched 

In perfect crucifixion on the arms 

Of a cross pointing from last void to void 

While the heart dies to a mere midway spark ! 


All happiness thou boldest, happy night, 

For such as lie awake and feel dissolved 

The peaceful spice of darkness and the cool 

Breath hither blown from th' ethereal flowers 

That mist thy fields! O happy, happy wounds, 

Conditioned by existence in humanity, 

That have such powers to heal them! slow sweet sighs 

Torn from the bosom, silent wails, the birth 

Of such long-treasured tears as pain his eyes 

Who, waking, hears the divine solicitudes 

Of midnight witli ineffable purport charged. 

How beautiful it is to wake at night, 

Another night, in darkness yet more still 

Save when the myriad leaves on full-fledged boughs, 

Filled rather by the perfumes' wandering flood 

Than by dispansion of the still sweet air, 

Shall from the furthest utter silences 

In glimmering secrecy have gathered up 

An host of whisperings and scattered sighs 

To loose at last a sound as of the plunge 

And lapsing seethe of some Pacific wave 

Which, risen from the star- thronged outer troughs, 

Rolls in to wreath with languorous foam away 

The flutter of the golden moths that haunt 

The star's one glimmer daggered on wet sands! 

So beautiful it is to wake at night 
Imagination, loudening with the surf 
Of the midsummer wind among the boughs, 
Gathers my spirit from the haunts remote 
Of faintest silence and the shades of sleep 
To bear me on the summit of her wave 
Beyond known shores, beyond the mortal edge, 
Of thought terrestrial, to hold me poised 
Above the frontiers of infinity, 

193 o 

To which in the full reflux of the wave 
Come soon I must, bubble of solving foam, 
Borne to those other shores now never mine 
Save for an hovering instant, short as this 
Which now sustains me, ere I be drawn back, 
To learn again, and wholly learn, I trust, 
How beautiful it is to wake at night. 

The Black Mountains, 1919. 




Under his helmet, up against his pack, 
After so many days of work and waking 
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back. 

There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping, 
Death took him by the heart. There heaved a quaking 
Of frustrate life, like child within him leaping . . . 
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack. 

And soon the slow stray blood comes creeping 
From the intrusive lead, like ants on track. 


Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking 
Of great wings, and the thoughts of stars, 
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making, 
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead, 
And these winds' scimitars; 
Or whether yet his thin and sodden head 
Confuses more and more with the low mould, 
His hair being one with the grey grass 
Of finished fields, and wire-scrags rusty-old, . . . 
Who knows? Who hopes? Who troubles? Let it pass! 
He sleeps. He sleeps less tremulous, less cold 
Than we who wake, and waking say, Alas ! 


Thetis and the Aunts 

Three old cats of covert claw 

Sitting round the parlour fire: 
What they thought of what they caw 

Made the walls perspire. 
In the morning they will waken 
(Drear the day and dawn forsaken) 
With Rebuke distilled by gallons 
And acutely tingling talons. 

Thetis, only just sixteen, 

Posing to the looking-glass 
Doesn't yet know she was seen 

("Nothing on!" "The brazen lass!"). 

On her left, a candle, warm; 

On her right, a moonray, cold; 
Her dim lily-slender form 

Half in silver, half in gold. 

Moonray thought: " Tis Dian, sped 
Before me to receive me home!*' 

Candle thought: '"Tis Psyche fled 
From Venus and the wrath to come!" 

Mirror mused: "My well of Truth 
Brims with an immortal sign: 

All of Beauty, all of Youth, 
One eternal moment mine!* 1 

1 196 

Old jute carpet felt like tears 
Where her flitting shadow fell, 

Where her feet caressed his years: 

"I was young," he thought, "as well." 

Old lace curtain held his breath, 
Laying f he print of flowers tied 

With ribbon, like a bridal wreath, 
Motionless against her side. 

Tinsel text above her bed 

Bloomed a rose without a thorn: 

"GOD IS LOVE." Its fragrance shed: 
"Christ was of a maiden born." 

Tumbled shift across her chair 

Clasped the ghost of warmth, and slept; 
Dreamed her guileless bosom there, 

Heard the happy heart that leapt. 

Thetis thought (White hip out- thrust, 
Arm upraised, bright cheek on shoulder): 

''Rather nice! I hope I'm just 
A shade less skinny when I'm older. 

"In two more years I'll be eighteen 
I shall always bob my hair . . . 

I'm pinky where my strings have been 
1 rather like that bit jus* there. . . . 

"Greek girls ran about like this! 

Somewhat awful ! All the same 
There's a frightful lot we miss 

Modern life's a bit too tame. . . . 


"Fancy Auntie Dot like me! 

Oh! It's hateful growing old 
Grey and deaf and crotchety 

Dead and buried . . . ugh! I'm cold." 

Then she pirouetted, twice; 

Smiled at herself and kissed one arm 
"HushJ" She thrilled like fire in'ice! 

"Door clicked! . . . Nothing . . . False alarm. 


Three old cats of cunning claw 

Sitting round the parlour fire: 
What they thought of what they saw 

Turned their whiskers wire. 
Thetis, in the morn will waken 
(Or I'm very much mistaken) 
To a discourse on Divinity 
Mewed crescendo by the Trinity. 




One July afternoon I had my fill 

Of sunshine as I climbed the gradual hill 

By the green, winding, secular ways that reach 

Through flowery meadows and still groves of beech 

From Chalfont up to Penn, and finding there 

The church-door standing open, from the glare 

Turned in and sat and rested for a while 

In the cool, quiet space of the south aisle. 

Where presently I found in brass portrayed 

With little skill, in shroud and coffin laid, 

Some Jacobean dame, perhaps a Penn, 

When once she lived a lover and mother of men. 

Then, pondering on that strange monument, 

My fancy in a far exploring went. 

I thought of Donne, who on his deathbed called 

For one to paint him in his cerement palled; 

Who in his vivid youth could think death fit 

To sharpen the bright edge of his brave wit; 

And deemed the prime and ripeness of his life 

One long rehearsal of the final strife. 

I thought then how all hours of that high time 

Were filled with the passing-bell's repeated chime, 

And fever and plague with frequent-halting feet 

Came tapping blindly down each London Street; 

And the tombs about me told how many died 

Of the many babes that were a mother's pride. 

I thought of Hamlet's brooding, Claudio's fear, 


The unlit, agonising gloom of Lear; 

I thought of Webster's Duchess, and the rage 

Of torture and of blood that filled his stage; 

Of Browne and Taylor, never more eloquent 

Than when their golden-flaming tongues were spent 

In a rich meditation and sad praise 

Of the brief tale of their uncertain days; 

And proud-living Raleigh, paying in knightly sort 

Due homage (once a Queen's) in Death's dim court. 

Yet this was Merry England, the most bright 
Hour of the day that now shades down to night; 
The dewy hour, that never could be too long, 
The hour of unstrained, universal song, 
Of laughter, and pride of life, and careless and gay 
Feasting and dance in a seeming infinite May. 
In such a golden time, I thought, how strange 
That fancy in so dark a path should range; 
That when the torrent of life so fiercely ran, 
Mortality should so haunt the mind of man. 


I walked into the beechwood then. How sweet 
The scent of the red leaves beneath my feet ! 
Crisp was the last year's falling, but the old 
Pressed in how rich and deep and soft a mould ! 
And out of the mould erect, the noble trees 
Rose eagerly to the sun and the upper breeze, 
Thrusting their myriad fingering branches there 
And leaves that greedily drank the light and air. 
Now they were green and supple, still in their prime 
And vigour, I thought, but they will wither in time, 
And green will turn to brown, and brown to red; 
The stalk will loosen till, shrivelled and crisp and dead, 


Upon some frosty bright November morn, 
Slowly and gently, this and that way borne 
In the light airs, gleaming suddenly gold 
In a chance ray, they'll fall to the soft mould 
And lie there soaked and rotting, winters and springs 
Innumerable, corrupt, forgotten things. 
Corrupt? Transformed, transmuted, rather say. 
Forgotten? Does the night forget the day- 
It cherishes in obscurity, and renews 
With rest f and soothing darkness, and cool dews? 
So in its dissolution is the leaf 
Transmuted and renewed beyond belief. 
Its elemental virtues are set free 
To seek anew the bondage of the tree, 
Wherein the essence deep from earthen wells 
Is drawn and filtered through a thousand cells 
In blind impulsion till, the beech-rind burst, 
It breaks into a leaf again, for light and air athirst. 

So the unending flux of the world rolls; 

Nor otherwise the cycle of human souls. 

The stars and the earth, Time and the World and I 

Fade year by year, and daily, hourly die. 

Then dark stars blaze again, and cold worlds bloom, 

Shedding a new light in the vast gloom, 

And through a myriad ages move and burn 

And flicker, then once more to darkness turn. 

Yt think of this though all things have an end 

Within the flux they all so meige and blend, 

That none may set a limit, and say, lo, 

This side the dead, on that the living, go, 

For being and not being are well-threaded 

Strands of one rope, inextricably wedded. 

Life* is the sunward hemisphere, a line 

Or hairlike thread, immeasurably fine 


That perilously hangs between the vast 

Unborn to come, and no-more-living past. 

Now I begin to read my riddle plain: 

Life is the bread, and death the planted grain; 

The buried seed reviveth in the bread, 

And we that break it feed upon the dead. 

Yet, blindly and most shamefully afraid, 

We loathe the food we live by, and we shade 

Our foolish eyes from the aliment of death, 

And so grow feeble, bloodless, scant of breath. 

But those who dwelt with death, dark hour by hour, 

Drew love from hell, from danger, joy and power, 

They who so bravely sang, so gaily fought, 

Knew well the truth that Epictetus taught 

The cripple-slave, heroic as he was wise 

That he who ever holds before his eyes 

The dreadful image of exile and of death 

No rank desire or mean thought harboureth. 

After London 

London Bridge is broken down; 

Green is the grass on Ludgate Hill; 
I know a farmer in Camden Town 

Killed a brock by Pentonville. 

I have heard my grandam tell 
How some thousand years ago 

Houses stretched from Camberwell 
Right to Highbury and Bow. 

Down by ShadwelPs golden meads 
Tall ships' masts would stand as thick 

As the pretty tufted reeds 

That the Wapping children pick. 

All the kings from end to end 
Of all the world paid tribute then, 

And meekly on their knees would bend 
To the King of the Englishmen. 

Thinks I while I dig my plot, 

What if your grandam's tales be true? 

Thinks I/be they true or not, 

What's the odds to a fool like you? 

Thinks*!, while I smoke my pipe 
Here beside the tumbling Fleet, 

Apples drop when they are ripe, 

And when they drop are they most sweet. 



Circe and Aeneas 

Seagirt, by woods encompassed, eyried within gates 

That no man opens nay, the unuttered Who goes there? 
Makes the benighted traveller tremble, hulf-aware 
What flocking maleficences mount upon the fume 
Of aromatic logs that secret fires consume - 
The solitary enchantress broods and meditates, 

Leaning out of the window of her turret-room. 

The dusk falls. Weary of singing to herself, she waits. 
And, hark, the pitiable chorus, brute on brute, 
From cage and sty and manger breaking to salute 
The hour of love remembered and the nuptial star. 
Surely this evening sets the prison doors ajar, 
Surely this evening . . . Bestial rage exacerbates 

Within their horrible hides the sense of what they are. 

Bear, lion, wolf and hog she hears with a cold smile 
The stupid orchestration ebb and sink absorbed 
Into the foliage, into the sea-ripple. A moon big-orbed 
Illuminates the Tuscan water . . . "Who are these? 
And whence the fugitive sail the even southerly breeze 
Would spirit away beyond my luring perilous isle? 

Who thinks to steal a passage thro* Circean seas?" 

She loosed an air of magic melody (all the while 

Far out the breath of cedar-logs went floating free). 
But the long-waited lover that was not to be 


Passed like a pilgrim proof against the sweet decoy, 
Primed with Avernian revelation, in grave joy, 
Smelling the air of Tiber, every moonlit mile 

Nearing his promised walls, the second spring of Troy. 

t The Screever 

There is the screever. Since a north wind blowing 
Has left the kerbstone dry to suit his chalks, 
He's chosen a pitch where many take their walks, 

Knelt to his task and made this mighty showing. 

Christ in Gethsemane (with trees and grass) 

Lloyd George A sunset (Turneresquely daring) 
A shipwreck Tanks in Cork A kiltie sparing 

A wounded Hun. With hardly a look they pass. 

Will ho one taste of that which savours sweeter 
Than voice of noonday larks to hear, or smell 

Drawn after April rain from primrose banks, 
Or honeycombs upon the tongue of the eater? 
See, there's his cap your copper, aim it well, 
And buy a pennyworth of poor-man's thanks. 



The Red Man in the Settlements 

From wilderness remote he breaks 
With stealthy springing tread; 

The little town a moment takes .1 
A glimpse of times long dead. 

He scorns to see the things we own 

But sullen stares beyond, 
Alone, impassive, cold, unknown; 

With us he feels no bond. 

One moment flocking with a stare 

To see the red man pass, 
The townsfolk feel the street's hot glare 

And dream of springs and grass. 

They see a breathless, dusty town 
They had not known before; 

The red man in his robes is gone, 
The townsfolk toil once more. 

And whence he came, and whither fled, 

And why, is all unknown; 
His ways are strange, his skin is red, 

Our ways and skins our own. 





Somewhere past Sirius, shade called to shade: 
"Well, aay gossip? Something new, I trust?" 

"Not much. They say that solar god has made 
Some quite amusing things out of his dust." 

Consolation for the Unborn 

Babes whose births have been controlled, 
Weep not but ring your loudest bells, 

For the Present is stale, the Past is old, 
And the Future belongs to Mr. Wells. 

At a Night Club 

The young men shouted with the band 
And pranced their partners across the floor, 

Yet when they had done, I saw them stand 
A moment dubious in Elsinore. 


If Goodness and Beauty 
Will make it their duty, 

Sweet maids, to live with me; 
Then Truth can still stay 
With Professor A, 

Or elope with Professor B. 



London Siren 

I sat at a high window till sleep despaired of me 

And all the anger in this small room 

Shook me for what I am, and measured out a tomb 

For the exact inadequacy that I shall be. 

I sat at my high window shrunkenly, 

Too tiny for despair, too bored for anger, 

Too numbed by the cold night of my mind 

To find 

Remedy for this languor. 

I sat at my high window and the stars were the same 

Bright villainous stones as the stars yesterday. 

Catherine wheels, said I, are stronger than the Lion, 

Lion immature and tame, 

And Roman Candles louder, brighter than Orion, 

And more beautiful of name. 

Even the streets are bent and grey, 

With shallow lamps spattering 

The thirsty stone beneath, 

Guttering and cowed and out of breath, 

Building an obvious analogy of Life and Death. 

I sat at my high window with a ray for a wreath 
And a wind for a shroud. 

Over the wall the houses pressed and scattered, 
Only the cold bricks were awake; 
There was no child that walked, no dog pattered, 
There was no scarlet omnibus to shake 


The childish light that trembles at my window. 

Over the wall, raindrops like sparrows chattered, 

And leaped and clattered in the lonely light 

That gutters low and stirs to make 

A gilt stem for the bright 

And shapeless visions of wet streets at night. 

I sat at my high window and the houses came 

And went in sullen streets, broke into wall and square, 

House, light and star, night, soundless path and stair, 

Wall and stair, flat houses, ever the same, 

And I the same with all that ever was 

At this high window, all the truths half-taken, 

Thirsts half-appeased, fat tears 


By laughter half-sincere. 

Suddenly by the window fell a spear 

Of thin metallic sound, 

That pricked and scraped against me and made stir 

The cumbrous plague that battened all about . . . 

A spear came glittering to wound 

This life that fumbled half in hand with death, 

To put 

A stripping, noisy tooth in the usual fur 

That hid a tender skin of the world beneath. 

Over the wall of red-brown bricks, 
Over the road, over the houses, over the road, 
Over a thousand houses and a poor scrap of trees, 
Came a far siren moving down the oil-lit quays, 
Where Thames-water sticks 

Thrown up with petrol and tar, to the roped stone every- 
where . . . 
Came a brittle goad 
To prick the sulky anger of my watching there. 

209 P 

My thought rode out to greet 

This cavalier intruder, 

As the sound dragged and drifted, and cried thinly down the 


As it meekly fell and bravely flowed I leaned, 
And spread out from my window, a figurehead of flesh and silk 
Set on a brown brick ship that hears the waves when birds pipe 
Till it turns, as a needle, to the sea. 
My thought rode out to meet 
So strong an intruder, 
And played with the dragging drifting sound of the siren 


Suppose some blackened band came sweeping up the river, 

Raking the long stretches, the low islands, the stone ridges, 

Suppose a dun ship skulked like an otter in the sedges, 

Or rode superbly through the hundred bridges 

That lace the town together. I watched for the fire 

On the dark quay-side, I listened for the wide 

Gossip of gun and gun . . . the narrow crack 

And snap of windows blinded in a burning. Half 1 saw a black 

Tousle of scorched men against the light, merry fire, 

Saw the lovely flames that scraped the city dry, 

As hornpipe pirates came to land beside the hundred bridges. 

And it was quiet, quiet, so quiet again. 

Suppose the black night called, and the city answering, 

Crept silent to eager ships and furrowed out to find 

A clouded rumour of the North, a grave whispered thing; 

Or drove by labour with sick sails pining for a wind, 

Under the alder banks, by humped root and gritty shallow, 

The jaded osier, the spined nettle against grey sallow, 

Down to a withered sea: then the streets empty of all 

Hold only post and stone, seams of street-light and no voice, 

Not a green bird in the window or bird in the hall, 

Not a dog with whitened claws and deep clamorous noise 


In a shut yard; only the airless cupboards of clothes, 
Solitary gown and unlaced shoe in every house 
In every street; only the ripple of flown ships, 
The vague river-lap, low calls of a beckoning sea. 
No wave in a tideless air, no closed eye to arouse 
With rattle of cup or morning song of whistling lips, 
Only a deserted city, a wet cage for me. 

Oh terror, let me take hold of this beloved earth, 
Book, china-vase, electric switch, waste-paper, what you will, 
Lest I be only a breath, only a terror; still, 
So still in nothing, that the waves of air 
Break at the window, lap and fall and I be nothing, 
Not a rock to catch their breaking, not a grass to hold their 

Oh terror, there is all the world to confess, 

All the universe to travel on a snapped wing, 

All the sum of God, ripe as snow or as a yellow pear, 

In this strange thought. Let me be still, 

Let me take hold on book or vase, electric switch, waste-paper, 

what you will, 
To strengthen me for this beloved earth. 

For I know Christ is come. The climbing river 

Bears that grave head, those bearded saints, that thunder 

Of harp and shield, psalm, creed, and all the dark 

Disconsolations we have laid away. 

I know that, Christ is come and will stay ever, 

I know the angry saints will kindle and stay, 

Kindled and grey as elms beside a park, 

Split by prophetic darts like elms asunder. 

Christ at the Tower. Oh, I know, I know, 

Christ a gold centaur in the Mall. His saints 

Preaching at statue, Admiralty, lake 

(White pelicans asleep at dawn). Awake, 


Despondent blinds in palaces bestir; 
Beneath those golden feet the temples ache. 
Doves cry abroad (for I have told them so): 
"Christ lies at Knightsbridge." Oh, I know, I know. 
"The apples of His words drop fresh and hot, 
Ripe, coloured apples, hot as bread and wine." 
The twinkling streets are fired like porcelain. 
The world's skin pricks like glass beneath the fur. 
"See, children, how the saints are broad and fine.** 
And I am waiting like mysterious Cain 
Alone, at this high window which has nut 
A hope or avenue or new design 
Of hiding and escape. "See His grave head, 
So tall, so mild, His lips, His hollow palms, 
See the swift doves that go to wake the dead." 
Oh, words that are as huge and green as farms 
That used to roll across the happy land 
Before this siren brought a bubble peace. 
"Christ is at Kensington." The world is her^. 
Let me take hold. Let pity make increase 
Of hopeless anguish. "Christ is on the stair." 



The Kiss 

Once as He stood beside her knee and read, 

She drew His lovely head 
Close to he.* breast in mother-sweet embrace. 

But as He raised His face 
She saw the sudden tears that filled His eyes, 

And saddened with surprise. 
Why should her little Son be moved like this 

At His fair mother's kiss? 

The long years passed. Then fell the dolorous tide 

.Shadowed and prophesied. 
John entered trembling to the mother pale 

And told the whole sad tale 
The garden scene, and the foul artifice 

Of the betrayer's kiss. 
And so she understood, that night of woe, 

His tears of long ago. 



Regret for the Passing of the Entire Scheme of 
Things '' 

Now in the midst of Summer stay the mind 
Whilst flowers hold their stony faces- up 
And fishes peer through crystal vacancies. 

For even in these drowsy hours of ease 
Winter's white-armoured horsemen on the hills 
Take from the virgin Frost their stirrup-cup. 

Whilst now in dusky corners lovers kiss 

And goodmen smoke their pipes by tiny gates . . . 

These oldest griefs of Summer seem less sad 

Than drone of mowers on suburban lawns 
And girls' thin laughter, to the ears that hear 
The soft rain falling of the failing stars. 


R. P. P. ROWE 


Creed wars vvlth creed, each frenzied to convert. 
And some bow down to an Almighty Hate, 
Fearful for threat of torment ultimate. 
Yet none has proof but only can assert. 

Assured, some kneel to Hate yet claim their own 
The Christ they nail again upon the cross; 
While some who love and follow Him to loss 
Build their souls' altar to a God unknown. 

A Lost Chance 

My Life shall be my length of clays less one: 
The day I saw her not, yet might have seen, 

Shall darken my pale memories of the sun 
When I sink down to Hades and have been. 

Not so; for I have counted up the cost 
And dreamed that day into a splendid fate, 

A surer Heaven than I can have lost, 
To hold against the truth inviolate. 


The Modern Hippolytus 

Not, like poor monks, with fasting and the rod 

To mortify the rlesh for fear of -God: 

Not, like Sir Galahad, to run to waste t 

In sentimental worship of the chaste: 

Not, like the Puritan, to hug disgust * 

And feast on others' sins to quench his lust: 

Not, like the saint, with dreams of future bliss, 

Lost in a fancied world, this world to miss. 

But, like Hippolytus, in pride to make 

The body servant for the body's sake; 

Spurning the Cytherasan's toils, who craves 

With servile heart the passion of her slaves, 

Freely to render homage unto Her 

Who, being free, desires no worshipper: 

To render soul for soul, without pretence, 

Not wooing sense through soul, nor soul through sense: 

To shun the twilight of the world's mistrust 

Where Lust for Love's mistaken, Love for Lust, 

And seek Diana's cold and hueless light 

That knows no difference save of dark and bright: 

There lay the man's will: but the unborn child 

Cried in the darkness, and the old world smiled 




Cisterns and stones; the fig-tree in the wall 

Casts down her shadow, ashen as her boughs, 

Across the road, across the thick white dust. 

Down from the hill the slow white oxen crawl, 

Dragging the purple waggon heaped with must, 

With scarlet tassels on their milky brows, 

Gentle as evening moths. Beneath the yoke 

Lounging against the shaft they fitful strain 

To draw the waggon on its creaking spoke, 

And all the vineyard folk 

With staves and shouldered tools surround the wain. 

The wooden shovels take the purple stain, 

The dusk is heavy with the wine's warm load; 

Here the long sense of classic measure cures 

The spirit weary of its difficult pain; 

Here the old Bacchic piety endures, 

Here the sweet legends of the world remain. 

Homeric waggons lumbering the road; 

Virgilian litanies among the bine; 

Pastoral sloth of flocks beneath the pine; 

The swineherd watching, propped upon his goad, 

Urder the chestnut trees the rootling swine 

Who could so stand, and see this evening fall, 

This calm of husbandry, this redolent tilth, 

This terracing of hills, this vintage wealth, 

Without the pagan sanity of blood 

Mounting his veins in young and tempered health? 

Whu could so stand, and watch processional 

The vintners, herds, and flocks in dusty train 


Wend through the golden evening to regain 
The terraced farm and trodden threshing-floor 
Where late the flail 

Tossed high the maize in scud of gritty ore, 
And lies half-buried in the heap of grain 
Who could so watch, and not forget the rack 
Of wills worn thin and thought become too frail, 
Nor roll the centuries back * 

And feel the sinews of his soul grow hale, 
And know himself for Rome's inheritor? 


I have known honey from the Syrian hills 

Stored in cool jars; the wild acacia there 

On the rough terrace where the locust shrills 

Tosses her spindrift on the ringing air. 

Narcissus bares his nectarous perianth 

In white and golden tabard to the sun, 

And while the workers rob the amaranth 

Or scarlet windflower low among the stone, 

Intent upon their crops, 

The Syrian queens mate in the high hot day 

Rapt visionaries of creative fray; 

Soaring from fecund ecstasy alone, 

And, through the blazing ether, drops 

Like a small thunderbolt the vindicated drone. 

But this is the bee-master's reckoning 

In England. Walk among the hives and hear. 

Forget not bees in winter, though they sleep. 

For winter's big with summer in her womb, 

And when you plant your rose-trees, plant them deep, 

Having regard to bushes all aflame, 

And see the dusky promise of their bloom 


In small red shoots, and let each redolent name 
Tuscany, Crested Cabbage, Cottage Maid 
Load with full June November's dank repose, 
See the kind cattle drowsing in the shade, 
And hear the bee about his amorous trade 
Brown in the gipsy crimson of the rose. 

In February, if the days be clear, 
The waking bee, still drowsy on the wing, 
Will sen^e the opening of another year 
And blunder out to seek another spring. 
Crashing through winter sunlight's pallid gold 
His clumsiness sets catkins on the willow 
Ashake like lambs' tails in the early fold, 
Dusting with pollen all his brown and yellow, 
But when the rimy afternoon turns cold 
And undern squalls buffet the chilly fellow, 
He'll seek the hive's warm waxen welcoming 
And set about the chambers' classic mould. 

And then, pell-mell, his harvest follows swift, 
Blossom and borage, lime and balm and clover, 
On Downs the thyme, on cliffs the scantling thrift, 
Everywhere bees go racing with the hours, 
For every bee becomes a drunken lover, 
Standing upon his head to sup the flowers, 
All over England, from Northumbrian coasts, 
To the wild sea-pink blown on Devon rocks. 
Over the merry southern gardens, over 
The grey-green bean-fields, round the Sussex oasts, 
Through the frilled spires of cottage hollyhocks, 
Go the big brown fat bees, and blunder in 
Where dusty spears of sunlight cleave the barn, 
And seek the sun again, and storm the whin, 
Afid in the warm meridian solitude 
Hum in the heather round the moorland tarn, 


Look, too, when summer hatches out the brood, 

In tardy May or early June, 

And the young queens are strong in the cocoon, 

Watch, if the days be warm, 

The flitting of the swarm. 

Follow, for if beyond your sight they stray 

Your bees are lost, and you must take your way 

Homeward disconsolate, but if you be at hand 

Then you may take your bees on strangers' land. 

Have your skep ready, drowse them with, your smoke, 

Whether they cluster on the handy bough 

Or in the difficult hedge, be nimble now, 

For bees are captious folk 

And quick to turn against the lubber's touch, 

But if you shake them to their wicker hutch 

Firmly, and turn towards the hive your skep, 

Into the hive the clustered thousands stream, 

Mounting the little slatted sloping step, 

A ready colony, queen, workers, drones, 

Patient to build again the waxen thrones 

For younger queens, and all the chambered cells 

For lesser brood, and all the immemorial scheme. 

And still they labour, though the hand of man 

Inscrutable and ravaging descend, 

Pillaging in their citadels, 

Defeating wantonly their provident plan, 

Making a havoc of their patient hoard; 

Still start afresh, not knowing to what end, 

Not knowing to what ultimate reward, 

Or what new ruin of the garnered hive 

The senseless god in man will send. 

Still their blind stupid industry will strive, 

Constructing for destruction pitiably, 

That still their unintelligible lord 

May reap his wealth from their calamity. 



If I had only loved your flesh 

And careless damned your soul to Hell, 
I might have laughed and loved afresh, 

And loved as lightly and as well, 
And little more to tell. 

But since to clasp your soul I strove, 
(That mountebank, that fugitive) 

Anrl poured the river of my love 
Through meshes that, like Danae's sieve, 
Drained all I had to give, 

Now nightly by the tamarisks 
I pace, and watch the risen moon 

Litter the sea with silver disks; 
And pray of night one only boon: 
Let my release be soon. 


When little lights in little ports come out, 
Quivering down through water with the stars, 
And all the fishing-fleet of slender spars 
Range at their moorings, veer with tides about; 

When race of wind is stilled and sails are furled, 
And underneath our single riding-light 
The curve of black-ribbed deck gleams palely white 
And slumbrous waters pool a slumbrous world 

Then, and then only, have I thought how sweet 
Old age might sink upon a windy youth, 
Qujet beneath the riding-light of truth, 
Weathered through storms, and gracious in retreat. 



A Last Judgment 

He heard an angel say now look for love, and* look 
For lust the burning city of his heart replied. 
And the angel whom his heart had life-time-long denied, 
In silence stood apart and watched him while tie took 
The scarlet and the sceptre and the crown of pride 
Calling for the masquerade and music of his minions 
Calling for the loves whose murdered eyes had left him wise 
With phantasies of flesh in wind-bewailed dominions. 

Their tongues were guttering lights; their songs were sated 

revels; * 

Their mimicries that sank to whispers and withdrew 
Were couriers of corruption. Mocked and maimed, he knew 
For scrawls on dungeon walls his priapismic devils. 

He woke; the sceptre broke; and cast away the crown; 
Fought blindly with the strangling of the scarlet gown; 
Cried out on hell and heaven, and saw the burning-bright 
Angel with eyes inexorable and wings, once white 
For mercy, now by storming judgment backward blown; 
Saw absolution changed to unrelenting stone; 
Shrieked; and aghast his ghost from flesh was whirled away 
On roaring gales of gloom ... He heard an angel say . . . 


Early Chronology 

Slowly the daylight left our listening faces. 


Professor Brown with level baritone 
Discoursed into the dusk. 

Five thousand years 
He guided us through scientific spaces 
Of excavated History; till the lone 
Roads of research grew blurred; and in our ears 
Time was the* rumoured tongues of vanished races, 
And Thought a chartless Age of Ice and Stone. 


The story ended. Then the darkened air 
Flowered as he lit his pipe; an aureole glowed 
Enwreathed with smoke; the moment's match-light showed 
His rosy face, broad brow, and smooth grey hair, 
Backed by the crowded book-shelves. 

In his wake 

An archaeologist began to make 
Assumptions about aqueducts (he quoted 
Professor Sandstorm's book); and soon they floated 
Through desiccated forests; mangled myths; 
And argued easily round megaliths. 


Beyond the college garden something glinted; 
A copper moon climbed clear above the trees. 
Some ,Lydian coin? . . . Professor Brown agrees 
That copper coins were in that culture minted; 
But, as her whitening way aloft she took, 
I thought she had a pre-dynastic look. 


Storm on Fifth Avenue 

A sallow waiter brings me six huge oysters . . . 
Gloom shutters up the sunset with a plague 
Of unpropitious twilight jagged asunder 
By flashlight demonstrations. Gee, what a peach 
Of a climate! (Pardon slang: these sultry storms 
Afflict me with neurosis: rumbling thunder 
Shakes my belief in academic forrris.) 

An oyster-coloured atmospheric rumpus 
Beats up to blot the sunken daylight's gildings. 
Against the looming cloud-bank, ivory pale, 
Stand twenty-storied blocks of office buildings. 
Snatched upward on a gust, lost news-sheets sail 
Waif-like in lone arena of mid-air; 
Flapping like melancholy kites, they scare 
My gaze, a note of wildness in the scene. 

Out on the pattering side-walk people hurry 

For shelter, while the tempest swoops to scurry 

Across to Brooklyn. Bellying figures clutch 

At wide-brimmed hats and bend to meet the weather 

Alarmed for fresh-worn silks and flurried feather. 

Then hissing deluge splashes down to beat 

The darkly glistening flatness of the street. 

Only the cars nose on through rain-lashed twilight: 

Only the Sherman Statue, angel-guided, 

Maintains its mock-heroic martial gesture. 

A sallow waiter brings me beans and pork. 
Outside there's fury in the firmament. 
Ice-cream, of course, will follow; and I'm content . . 
Babylon/ Carthage/ O New York! 


Grandeur of Ghosts 

When I have heard small talk about great men 

I climb to bed; light my two candles; then 

Consider what was said; and put aside 

What Such-a-one remarked and Someone-else replied. 

They have spoken lightly of my deathless friends, 
(Lamps for my gloom, hands guiding where I stumble) 
Quoting, for shallow conversational ends, 
What Shelley shrilled, what Blake once wildly muttered . . 

How can they use such names and be not humble? 
I have sat silent; angry at what they uttered. 
The dead bequeathed them life; the dead have said 
What these can only memorise and mumble. 

Att Souls' Day 

Close- wrapped in living thought I stand 
Where death and daybreak divide the land, 
Death and daybreak on either hand 

For exit and for entry; 
While shapes like wind-blown shadows pass, 
Lost and lamenting, "Alas, alas, 
This body is only shrivelling grass, 

And the soul a starlit sentry 
Who guards, and as he comes and goes, 
Points now to daybreak's burning rose, 
And now toward worldhood's charncl close 

Leans with regretless warning" . . . 

I hear them thus thus I hear 
My doomed companions crowding near, 
Until my faith, absolved from fear, 
Sings out into the morning, 

225 ( 

And tells them how we travel far, 
From life to life, from star to star; 
Exult, unknowing what we are; 

And quell the obscene derision 
Of demon-haunters in our heart 
Who work for worms and have no part 
In Thee, O ultimate power who art 

Our victory and our vision. < 



The Poem 

Kiss me! It cannot be that I 

Who wove such songs of pain and fire 
Last night that fierce, desiring cry 

It cannot be that I should tire? 

Prove to me, prove you're not grown weak, 
Break down this citadel of sense, 

Show me myself too faint to speak, 
Not armoured in my eloquence. 

I swear my singing was begun 

Out of love's black and bitter deep 

But oh ! the work was so well done 
I smiled, well-pleased, and fell on sleep. 

Now all day long I must rehearse 
Each passionate and perfect line, 

Mine the immaculate great verse 
I do not know the thoughts for mine. 




Set within a desert lone, 

Circled by an arid sea, 
Stands a figure carved in stone, * 

Where a fountain used to be. 

Two abraded, pleading hands 

Held below a shapeless mouth, 
Human-like the fragment stands, 

Tortured by perpetual drought. 

Once the form was drenched with 
Deluged with the rainbow flushes; 

Surplus water dashed away 
To the lotus and the rushes. 

Time was clothed in rippling fashion, 

Opulence of light and air, 
Beauty changing into passion 

Every hour and everywhere. 

And the yearning of that race 

Was for something deep and tender, 1 

Life replete with power, with grace, 

Touched with vision and with splendour. 

Now no rain dissolves and cools, 

Dew is even as a dream, 
The enticing far-off pools 

Tn a mirap-e only seem. 


All the traces that remain 
Of the longings of that land 

Are two hands that plead in vain 
Filled with burning sand. 




Weland among the Wurmas / wandered in exile, 
A single-minded earl / he suffered hardship, 
He had for his comrades / care and longing, 
Winter-cold wretchedness; / woe he often found, 
When Nithhad him / with need constrained, 
Bitter sinew-cutting / of a better man. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 

To Beadohild was not / her brother's death 
As sore in her soul / as herself 's own plight, 
For she clearly / conceived had ' 

That she was mothering; / nor might she ever 
With certainty think / how that should be. 
We have heard, we many, / of Hilda's raping. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 

Was deep beyond plumbing / the passion of the Geat 
So that love-sorrow him / of his sleep all robbed. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 

Theodoric governed / thirty winters 
The Maerings' burgh; / to many 'twas known. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 

We have asked and learned of / Eormanrices 
Wolfish thoughts / (he ruled widely the folk ' 
Of the Gothic realm); / that was a grim King. 


Sate many a wight / by sorrows bounden, 
Woe awaiting, / wished well enough 
That overcome / that kingdom were. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 

Sitteth any sorrowful, / severed from fortune, 

His soul darkened, / to himself thinketh he 

That his share )f evil / endless is? 

Let him then bethink him / that beyond this world 

Our Lord All- Wise / often changeth; 

To many an earl / His Mercy sheweth, 

Certain glory; / to some of sorrows a portion. 

And I of myself / will say this thing, 
That for a while I was / the IJeodening's bard; 
To my duke was I dear; / and Deor was my name, 
I had, for many winters, / a worthy office, 
A handsome lord, until / Heorrenda now, 
A man skilled in lays, / the land-right has taken 
Which the Shelter of Earls / of old did give me. 
That overpassing, / this also may. 



Kindly Night Hurries Hence 

Kindly Night hurries hence, 

And the Dream-censer burns 
Low. To my wakened sense 
The bitter light returns 
Of Everyday, 
Cold, Dusty, Grey! 
Lo ! All the Commonwealth on Progress bent 

With sedulous intent, 
There is no Time nor Place for Sentiment! 

The Angel Israfel 

Of the Celestial Seven, 
A lute, the Rabbis tell, 

Within his heart was given. 

And this, both day and night, 
With tremulous delight, 
So thrills his Love, his brethren hov'ring round, 

The abyss of stars profound, 
Yea God Himself! -are pleasured at the sound. 

But I, who hold 

Nor Wealth, nor Place, 
I should be overbold 
Sang I aloud thy praise. 

But, humbly to and fro, 
On my mean work I go. 
Nor dare to glance at thee so much above me, 

But let thy stolen glove be 
Enough. Yet ever thrums my heart: 
"I love thee/ 1 ' 



Woman s Song 

No more* upon my bosom rest thee, 
Too often have my hands caressed thee, 

My lips thou knowest well, too well; 
Lean tft my heart no more thine ear 
My spirit's living truth to hear 

It has no more to tell. 

In what dark night, in what strange night, 
Burnt to the butt the candle's light 

That lit our room so long? 
I do not know. I thought I knew 
How love could be both sweet and true; 

I also thought it strong. 

Where has the flame departed? Where, 
Amid the empty waste of air, 

Is that which dwelt with us? 
Was it a fancy? Did we make 
Only a show for dead love's sake, 

It being so piteous? 

No more against my bosom press thee, 
Seelc no more that my hands caress thee, 

Leave the sad lips thou hast known so well; 
if to my heart thou lean thine ear 
There grieving thou shalt only hear 

Vain murmuring of an empty shell. 

2 33 


In silence and in darkness memory wakes 

Her million-sheathed buds and breaks 

That day-long winter when the light and noise 

And hard bleak breath of the outward-looking will 

Made barren her tender soil, when every voice 

Of her million airy birds was dull or still. 

One bud-sheath breaks: 
One sudden voice awakes. 

What change grew in our hearts seeing one night 
That moth-winged ship drifting across the bay, 

Her broad sail dimly white 
On cloudy waters and hills as vague as they? 
Some new thing touched our spirits with distant delight, 
Half seen, half noticed, as we loitered down, 
Talking in whispers, to the little town, 

Down from the narrow hill 

Talking in whispers, for the air so still 
Imposed its stillness on our lips and made 
A quiet equal with the equal shade 
That filled the slanting walk. That phantom now 
Slides with slack canvas and unwhispering prow 
Through the dark sea that this dark room has made. 

Or the night of the closed eyes will turn to <Jay 
And all day's colours start out of the g r ay. 
The sun burns on the water. The tall hills 
Push up their shady groves into the sky , 
And fail and cease where the intense light spills 
Its parching torrent on the gaunt and dry 
Rock of the further mountains, whence the snow 
That softened their harsh edges long is gone 

And nothing tempers now 
The hot flood falling on the barren stone. 


O memory, take and keep 

All that my eyes, your servants, bring you home 
Those other days beneath the low white dome 

Of smooth-spread clouds that creep 

As slow and soft as sleep. 

When shade grows pale and the cypress stands upright, 

Distinct in the cool light, 
Rigid and solid as a dark-hewn stone; 

And many another night 
That melts in darkness on the narrow quays 
And changes every colour and every tone 
And soothes the waters to a softer ease, 
When under constellations coldly bright 
The homeward sailors sing their way to bed 
On ships that motionless in harbour float. 
The circling harbour-lights flash green and red; 
And, out beyond, a steady travelling boat 
Breaking the swell with slow industrious oars 

At each stroke pours 
Pale lighted water from the lifted blade. 
Now in the painted houses all around 

Slow darkening windows call 
The empty unwatched middle of the night. 
The tide's few inches rise without a sound. 
On the black promontory's windless head, 
The last "awake, the fireflies rise and fall 
And tangle up their dithering skein of light. 

U memory, take and keep 
All that my eyes, your servants, bring you home ! 

Thick through the changing year 
The unexpected rich-charged moments come, 

That you 'twixt wake and sleep 
In the lids of the closed eyes shall make appear. 


This is life's certain good, 
Though in the end it be not good at all, 

When the dark end arises 
And the stripped, startled spirit must let fall 

The amulets that could 
Prevail with life's but not death's sad devices. 

Then, like a child from whom an older child 

Forces its gathered treasures, 
Its beads and shells and strings of withered flowers, 

Tokens of recent pleasures, 
The soul must lose in eyes weeping and wild 

Those prints of vanished hours. 

The Rock Pool 

(To Miss Alice War render) 

This is the sea. In these uneven walls 

A wave lies prisoned. Far and far away, 
Outward to ocean as the slow tide falls, 

Her sisters, through the capes that hold the bay, 
Dancing in lovely liberty recede. 

Yet lovely in captivity she lies, 
Filled with soft colours, where the waving weed 

Moves gently, and discloses to our eyes 
Blurred shining veins of rock and lucent shells 

Under the light-shot water; and here repose 
Small quiet fish and the dimly glowing bells 

Of sleeping sea-anemones that close 
Their tender fronds and will not now awake 
Till on these rocks the waves returning break. 


The Beach of Shells 

(To Hugh Miller} 

There is a beach upon a western shore 

Which those who know it call the Beach of Shells, 

For there the secret tides conspire to pour 

Yearly a haryest raised in the deep-sea swells, 
The empty houses of bright water-things, 
In heaps of whorls and cones and fluted bells. 

These hither a certain drift of current brings, 
And on a bayed shelf in the rock bestows 
Year after year their softly shining rings 

Of lavender and pearl, umber and rose, 

Of iridescent sheen, dim-shaded dun, 

Of red that smoulders and of red that glows, 

To lie there glistening beneath the sun, 
Beside the shouting or the singing sea, 
All beautiful, and empty every one. 

Who knows how long ocean's fertility 
Hath borne this harvest or how many tides 
Have swept it to this blank tranquillity 

From where Ijve water washes the rock's sides 
On which these generations lived and grew 
And where even now their enduring race abides? 

For still, unseen beneath the covering blue, 
Their children make new houses, ring on ring, 
That'hither shall be swept in season due, 

And each a senseless, empty, lovely thing. 
But* where these nations of the sea are laid, 
The passer-by who pauses, wondering 


At how and when the Beach of Shells was made, 
Finds but few perfect, as when on their rock 
Each by its maker was inhabited. 

The tide that threw them here with careless shock 
Has cracked the delicate walls, and passing feet 
Spread ruin every day with kick and knock, 

And winter's frosts have worked, and summer's heat, 

To lay the intricate, vacant chambers bare, 

Where once the creature lived and found life sweet. 

Would you know more than this, then kneel down there 
And dig a little with exploring hand, 
Finding more fragments still in every layer. 

Till last you find the shells all ground to sand. 
MOSSY ARD, September 1929. 

The Fairy's Child 

I have known love, and thrice or more 
Has beauty on my pleading smiled: 

For one or two my heart was sore 
And one I loved was a fairy's child. 

Fairies are neither good nor evil 

But strange: they follow different laws. 

Fool that I was in her to level 
Human effect and fairy cause! 

With that deception sick and spent 

I wept alone, but now I see 
She was, though wide her footsteps went, 

Faithful to love if not to me. 


Overheard at a Literary Party 

"Twenty per cent . . . twenty per cent ..." 

"That's what he said I don't know what he meant . . ." 

"Serial rights . . . serial rights . . ." 

"The man isn't bad, but his friends are such frights . . ." 

"Three guineas a thousand isn't enough . . ." 

"He's not quite a fool but he writes dreadful stuff . . ." 

"I haven't an agent . . ." "He told me he would 

Declare in the Times that my sonnets were good . . ." 

"Did you hear . , .?" "Have I told you . . .?" "Has anyone 

said . . .?" 

"She once had a vogue, but now it's quite dead ..." 
"The case will come on in the autumn, they say ..." 
"I'm trying to write in a different way ..." 
"The place is the States! I'm going in May! . . ." 
"One likes her, of course, but, of course, she can't write . . ." 
"His reviews don't mean much, but they always are bright . . ." 
"Twenty per qent . . . twenty per cent . . . 
I asked them for that but the letter they sent 
Refused to go further than twelve and a half . . . 
It isn't a joke, and I beg you won't laugh . . . 
That's what they said I don't know what they meant ..." 



The Water Song of Dinas Vawr 

The mountain stream is colde: 
And the valley stream is warmer; 
We therefore felt the bolder 
For bathing in the former; 
The course of it we followed 
To the mountain-cave that chilled it; 
We found a pool and wallowed, 
And the two of us just filled it. 
We sweated down from Snowdon 
To the pools of Aberglaslyn 
Their emollience they bestowed on 
Feet that else had needed vaseline; 
There's a tarn that made us gladder, 
Though the chill of it was deathly, 
By the Fox's Path on Cader 
When descending to Dolgelly: 
When dusk was dim and dewy, 
With handkerchief for towel, 
We plunged into Vyrnwy, 
Where the accent's on the vowel: 
We proved each other right on 
All the Principles of Bathing, 
Condemned the Front at Brighton 
With vituperation scathing, 
Despised the woman-bather 
Pedetemptim with a shidder 
With a costume to enswathe her 
And a coiffure to consider. 
A swim may be ideal 


For leisurely abstersion: 

To connoisseurs the be-all 

And the end-all is Immersion: 

So tearing off our breeches 

And dropping shirts in huddles, 

We dabbled in the ditches, 

And grovelled in the puddles. 

Nor Solomon in his glory 

May envy us our raiment, 

When waters chill provide our thrill 

And ihe afterglow our payment. 


Long ere the Spheres were moved to dawn, 

Or Mother Earth from Ocean rose, 
Ere plantigrades. Amoeba's spawn, 

Developed rudimentary toes, 
When first from Hence the Future Tense 

Began to conjugate To-Be, 
In crude pothook God's Domesday Book 

Wrote down this shire for me for Me. 

Let Shropshire boast twelve-winded skies, 

Sussex the draught of her hill-air 1 ; 
Our stagnant pools engender flies, 

Nor ever wind blows loudly there 
Yet though the fen be bare of men, 

Nor bosky launds mine eyes assuage, 
Still can I say (with David), "Yea, 

I have a goodly heritage/* 

No sentimental flowers cloak 

The pleached hedge, the stolchy ditch; 

This word is curiously misspelt in the original MS. 

241 R 

Fallow and furrow swarm and choke 

With spurge and dodder, vetch and twitch: 

Yet am I gay when I survey 

Where rolls and rises, fold on fold, 

O'er vale and down the flooded, brown, 
Dam goodness of the unwieldy Wold. 

Daylong the serf with rheumy ey^s 

Stares idly o'er the sodden plains 
From Devil's Dyke to Charnel Rise 

Where once his forebears swung 'in chains: 
Now (Ichabod!) he hops the clod, 

Inhausts the frigid noontide quart 
Of tea, and hoes two crooked rows 

Of late potatoes black with wart. 

Here clunch-pit warrens breed the burr 

That trips to death the shag-haired goat, 
And bindweed and dwarf juniper 

Trammel the blood-lust of the stoat; 
Dank hellebore her fatal spore 

Spreads in the thoughtless leveret's way, 
Smelling like dusk at Caer-on-Usk 

Or Pheure d 'absinthe in Paraguay. 

A myriad mouldwarps undermine 

Our lichened dolmens one and all; 
By thwaite and hanger, tor and chine, 

Our cromlechs crumble to their fall: 
Of Bretnold's fane that stayed the Dane, 

And shrined both saint and buccaneer, 
Twelve hugy stones above their bones 

Alone through dock and darnel peer. 

Let not Imperial Me be shamed 

To swallow hard, when I have heard 


The mute inglorious parish named 
Wherein my birth is registered. 

Each to his lot: though mine be not 
Worthy a true blue White Man's hire, 

Let me presume the Angel of Doom 
Erred in allotting me this shire. 




In the dark, in bed, the brows of lovers will touch 

Closely, with nothing at all between bone and bone, 

Coffer against coffer of mind, and they will not move. 

Silent they'll be, their hearts overflowing witii love, 

Or sometimes kiss and whisper, or sweetly moan. 

Yet silent or whispering, lying two lovers alone, 

Locked from the world in the dark, they are separate still, 

An impassable gulf between, across which they call 

Like voice to voice from shores of a lightless sea. 

A moment, surrendered in climax of ecstasy 

Only aware of souls' and bodies' kiss 

They may burn with the wordless knowledge o\ mutual bliss, 

Completeness of giving; yet the flush of fever goes, 

And its flame dies; and gateways noiseless close, 

And behind are wings again, and lonely flight, 

The cold swift mathematical movement of thought, 

Or wandering memory straying like a moth in the night. 

Thus lovers, and by day 

Of all they think, how little the dearest can say. 

Even those most pure and devoted must daily wage 

The wars of love and the sweet diplomacies 

Where self will plot for its ends in a fair disguise, 

Or yield to love, for the sake of love, with seeming. 

And coldness they sometimes know and even rage 

Remorsefully checked, and days divorced when the dreaming 

Of obscured and oblivious love is forgotten; and scheming 

And striving in the world the ego fights for its own 

And neglect of love may bring of lovers the best 


To a place where a careless petulant word expressed 
May open before their feet a gulf of dread 
In whose depths is the dreadful image of love lying dead, 
And they shrink from a lonely life without ever a friend . . . 

Though they love and would die for each other; and will to the 

Thus these most close and dear, 

Even these with whom the pitiful heart has been bared 

In its weakness, and shame's most intimate secrets shared, 

(Though candour's utter prostration could never disclose 

The whole of that secret world that so quickly grows). 

And of others how little we know, that we know for true, 

The strangers we call our friends; we see what they do 

For an hour a day may be, and hear what they think 

For an hour a year; and ever we stand on the brink 

Of rash disclosure; and ever in fear we shrink 

With a friendly smile lest dreadfully there should be 

A stripping of enmity's naked roots, or afraid 

In all our friendship's complicate web to see 

A fabric of exploitation or trust betrayed . . . 

A conventional waiving of self as we talk, a pretence 

That the caverns of self are not there, a thick wall of defence 

From acquaintance, yet ever there glowers the unsleeping within. 

And, beyond, each one has a world of foes; each man 

Will anger to blood against person and class and clan, 

Swayed by suspicion, and fear and hate and lust, 

And conflict of loves that is ever the most unjust. 

And out on the verge of the world are the tribes of sm 

Whose good is our evil, whose alien instincts show 

In their eyes, -deep secular thoughts that we never could know. 

A chequered tempestuous world where the watcher sees 

Men coveting, fighting and dying, an endless strife 

In ignorant fever for power and pride and life: 

The destined prey of the hosts of desire and disease. 

Yet sighs the absurd unreasoning voice of our blood 
For a world, alas ! and there is no bitter cold there, 
Nor scorching heat, nor blossom with worm in the bud, 
And babes do not die, nor blindness comes to the old there, 
But the sun shines fair, and the rain falls soft, and the clinic 
Conspires with the seed for the loveliest fruits of time, 
And the young are strong, and the old go green to the grave 
Without pain, and none is master and nont is slave. 
And music sounds from the boats, and garlands are woven 
By maids at noon, and great calm statues are cloven 
Out of the cliffs, by the shrines of sunnier gods. 

Divine, magnificent spirit of man that will face 

Invincible ever the battle with hopeless odds 

And cannot but dream ere he falls of a time and a race, 

Of a day when the world of men maturer grown 

Will live without law in perfect wisdom and grace 

Like the solar system hanging in awful space, 

Its parts sustained serenely by love alone ! 

The Rebel Heart 


Hearty "why dost thou ache? . . . 

Thou knowest why I ache 

All the long, dark, and tired, and turning night-time 
Trying, trying to break! 

What is thy secret now? 

Is it indolence this time: 
Trusting in faithless fortune that has made th'ee 

Accessory to a crime? 


Or cowardice? Art thou afraid 

To face stark nature still, 
Or of some single word, or shame, or battle 

That must come if it will? 

Or does thine ancient lust 

Once more insatiate burn? 
Or hast thou asked again a truth from others 

Thou would'st not dare return? . . . 

Ah! dreamer, slave of dreams, 

I hear thy childish cry: 
"Why will not these things be as I would have them? 

Others should fail, not I: 

"Sink in the sullen flood, 

Be tortured in the fire: 
But I, the universe was made to give me 

The whole of my desire!" 

Late Snow 

The heavy train through the dim country went rolling, rolling 
Interminably, passing misty snow-covered ploughland ridges 
That merged in the snowy sky; came turning meadows, fences, 
Came gullies and passed, and ice-coloured streams under frozen 

Across the travelling landscape evenly drooped and lifted 
The telegraph wires, thick ropes of snow in the windless air; 
They drooped and paused and lifted again to unseen summits, 
Drawing the eyes "and soothing them, often, to a drowsy stare. 

Singly in the snow the ghosts of trees were softly pencilled. 
Fainter and fainter, in distance fading, into nothingness gliding, 
But sometimes a crowd of the intricate silver trees of fairyland 
Passed, marvellous close and clear, the phantom world hiding. 


O untroubled these moving mantled miles of shadowless 


And lovely the film of falling flakes, so wayward and slack: 
But I thought of many a mother-bird screening her nestlings, 
Sitting silent with wide bright eyes, snow on her back. 

To a Musician 

Musician, with the bent and brooding face, 

White brow and thunderous eyes: you a**e not playing 
Merely the music that dead hand did trace. 

Musician, with the lifted resolute face, 

And scornful smile about your closed mouth straying, 
And hand that moves with swift or fluttering grace: 

It is not that man's music you are playing. 

The grave and delicate tunes he made you arc playing, 
Each march and dirge and dance he made endures, 

But changed and mastered, and these things you're saying, 
These joys and sorrows are not his but yours. 

You take those notes of his: you seize and fling 

His music as a dancer flings her veil, 
Toss it and twist it, mould it, make it sing, 

Whisper, shout savagely, lament and wail, 

Rush like a hurricane, pause and faint and fail: 
And, as I watch, my body and soul are bound 
Helpless, immovable, in thongs of sound. 

Lonely and strange musician, standing there, 

Your bent ear listening to your own soul speaking, 

I hear vibrating on the smitten air 

The crying of your suffering and your seeking. 


Agoniedl raptured! frustrate! you are haunted, 
Pursued, beset, beleaguered, filled, possessed, 

By all you are, all things you have lost and wanted, 
Things clear, too clear, things only to be guessed. 

I do not know what earlier scenes you knew, 
What sweet reproachful memories you hold 

Of broken dreams you had before you grew 
So conscious and so lonely and so old. 

I do not know what women's words have taught 
Your heart, and only vaguely know by name 

The many wandering cities where you have sought 
Splendour, and found the hollowness of fame, 

Or where your sad and gentle reveries pass 
To family and home who have for signs 

Of all your childhood only the imagined grass 
Of a bright steppe, the wind running in lines, 

And only some old fairy-tale of sleighing, 

Dark snow-deep forests, endless turning pines, 
Bells tinkling, and wolves howling, and hounds baying. 

Vague is your past, yet as your violin sings, 

Its wildness held in desperate control, 
I feel them all, that world of bygone things 

That have left their wounds and wonders in your soul. 

Out in all weathers you have been, my friend, 
Climbed into dawn, stood solitary and stark 

Against the ashen quiet of twilight's end, 

Brooded beneath the night's unanswering dark; 

Through battering tempests you have blindly won, 
And lived, and found a medicine for your scars 

In resDlution taken from the sun 

And patience from the still unsleeping stars. 


And here, in this crowded place an hour staying, 

Your dim orchestra measuring off your bars, 
So pale and proud you stand, your secrets flaying: 

Resolving the tangle, pouring through your song 

All your deep ache for Beauty, calm above 
Your bitter silent anger and the strong 

Ferocity and tenderness of your love, 

Loud challenges and sweet and cynic laughter, 

Movements of joy spontaneous and pure, 
Remorse, and the dull grief that glimmers after 

The obstinate sins you know you will not cure. 

I see you subtly lying, soberly weighing 

Gross questions, jesting at the things you hate, 

In apathy, and wild despair, and praying, 

Bowed down before the shadowy knees of i Fate, 

And fearfully behind the visible groping, 

And standing by the heart's bottomless pit, and shrinking, 
Who have known the lure and mockery of hoping, 

The comic terrible uselessness of thinking. 

O gay and passionate, gloomy and serene, 

Your quivering fingers laugh and weep and curse 

For all the phantoms you have ever been. 
Yet would you wish another universe? 

Let peace come if it will: your last long note 
Dies on the quiet breast of space; and now 

They clap: I see again your square frock-coat, 

Dark, foreign fiddler, you have stopped: you bow. 


A Dogs Death 

The loose earth falls in the grave like a peaceful regular breath- 

Too like, for I was deceived a moment by the sound: 
It has covered the heap of bracken that the gardener laid above 

Quiet the spade swings: there we have now his mound. 

A patch of fresh earth on the floor of the wood's renewing 

All around is grass and moss and the hyacinth's dark green 

And oaks are above that were old when his fiftieth sire was a 

And far away in the garden I hear the children's shouts. 

Their joy is remote as a dream. It is strange how we buy our 


For the touch of perishing things, idly, with open eyes; 
How we give our hearts to brutes that will die in a few seasons, 
Nor trouble what we do when we do it; nor would have it 


If To Be Thrust from Jen's Gate 

If to be thrust from Eden's gate 

Were exile spent with thee, 
I could desire no kinder fate 

Than that divine decree: 
Nay, if I had a mind to count the cost, 
What could it be, but Paradise well lost? 

For in a garden where thy feet 

No longer touched the ground, 
What verdure, or what blossoming sweet, 

What fragrance could be found? 
There's not a living herb, or tree, or flower 
That could survive thine absence for an hour! 

When Kindness like a Planet Sets 

When kindness like a planet sets, 
And bitter thoughts infect the mind, 

When love her phantasy forgets, 

When blind suspicion leads the blind, 

Imagination fainting lies, 

With fallen stars her ways are strewn, 
And fancy, once her firebird, flies 

To the cold caverns of the moon. 



"Beautiful, Proud Sea" 

Careless for ever, beautiful, proud sea, 
You laugh in happy thunder all alone, 

You fold upon yourself, you dance your dance 
Impartially on drift-weed, sand or stone. 

You make us believe that we can outlive death, 
You make us for an instant, for your sake, 

Burn, like stretched silver of a wave 
Not breaking, but about to break. 


The Wasp That Was 

From life in three-dimensioned space 
He drops to death in two; 
Flat as unruffled ocean's face, 
Or flat as falls a common-place, 
He lies beneath my shoe. 

His tactless disconcerting way 
Of aureoling my head 
Has docked him of his little day, 
And turned his form's organic play 
To matter thinly spread. 

By what compulsion he was driven 
To court contention thus, 
And why that vibrant orbit given, 
May possibly be known to heaven, 
But is not known to us. 

The Last Prayer 

(Suggested by Revelation, Chapter XXL) 

O were it mine to win unchallenged way 

(Presumptuous thought!) where Zion's braveries are; 

Where Saints, more bright than summer-lightning's play, 

Send their loud adorations pealing far 

Through jewelled courts of day. 

Still one last prayer it would be mine to pray 

"Leave, sometimes leave, those gates of pearl ajar!" 


That I may steal from too ebullient bliss, 

And on a less delirious beauty feed, 

In some cool dell where lights and shadows kiss, 

And (Take it not amiss, 
Far-sounding Seraphs!) not a note is heard 
Of harp or viol, only the piping reed 
Of woodland rill and unbedizened bird. 


If on the top of his Tartarian hill, 

The torturing stone of Sisyphus were still; 

If the Tantalian wave should woo the lip, 

Ixion's wheel rest like becalmed ship; 

Would the freed sufferers long that ease enjoy, 

Or cast regretful glances on their late employ? 

I know them all, for here they all repair, 

To physic opulence with healing air; 

Sir Tantalus is sinking to his grave, 

Killed by the fond compliance of his wave; 

Ixion, wiser, still can pleasure feel, 

Lending his aid to turn another's wheel; 

While Sisyphus (of Sisyphus and Co.) 

Hopes soon to start his stone from its old place below. 

A Fenland Stream 

I knew thee first when life was young, 
And scorned thee for thy sauntering pace, 
Called thee a singer with bridled tongue, 
A runner that ever had shunned the race. 

"If thou would'st win my praise," I said, 
"And stir my heart as may native rills, 


Bid the sun suck thee from thy bed, 
And bear thee in storm-clouds to the hills; 

"Taste there life's thrills, and rapturous lez 
From crag to crag in a glory of spray, 
Fling loose thy fettered song, and keep 
Unsullied all thy channelled way. 

"No drowsy weeds shall clog Jiy course, 
No serried osiers wall thee round; 
There live a bright embodied force, 
Linked to the very soul of sound." 

But now, too many a change I see 
To wish thee other than thou art; 
Thy stillness mirrors heaven for me, 
And, more than music, feeds my heart. 

To my Subliminal Self 

How came we thus together? 
Dark Spirit housed in me! 
Bound by what fatal tether 
Closer than claw to feather, 
Or flower to honey-bee? 

Thou wak'st when I am sleeping, 
Ousting me from my throne, 
My past lies in thy keeping, 
I spend long hours in reaping 
The tares that thou hast sown. 

A sage that oft will blunder, 
A saint that stoops to shame, 
In all thy ways a wonder, 
Thou rendest life asunder, 
And I must bear the blame. 


When I am tuned to sadness, 
Thou unabashed wilt play, 
But in thy ribald gladness 
Confusion lives, and madness 
Is never far away. 

Wilt thou be standing by me, 
In Heaven's all-judging day. 
Pleading with them that try me, 
Or wilt thou then deny me, 
A*~d go thy separate way? 



Since I have given thee all my very heart, 
Since I have staked so deep and dangerously 

All that I have of hope till breath depart 
And flung my little kingdom on tie die; 

Since now there streams over my land and sea 

This dread Love strange as light beyond recall, 

I am thy prisoner; yes, and thou art free 
With but a touch to lay in ruin all. 



Man With Girl 

The S^n above the desert sands 

Burns a full orb of gold, 
Cold daylight falls upon our streets, 

Townsmen no Sun behold. 

Shy antelopes and tufted trees 
Move by eve's shining pools; 

White faces streaming in dark streets 
Our wind of sunset cools. 

The tall giraffe, the Moon's bright horn, 

The shining waterfall, 
I saw in the bright-limbed animal 

I danced with in the hall. 

The Towers of Tantalus 

The Towers of Tantalus I saw 
Above untrodden streets of Time; 

The sunlight and the moonlight shone 
Together, on great spars of rime. 

Terrestrial lilies were those Towers 
In calm sky pools of that dark noon; 

Calm lay on rocks of frozen light 
The shadow of the Sun and Moon. 

Still, bright-gold chrysanthemums 
Shone in the polished, dim, jade halls, 


And at small windows in still woods 
Hung snow-curved, shining waterfalls. 

Those pinnacles, sky-pointed, sang 
A cloud-embroidered song of doom, 

The flowers sang in the halls below 
Wax sprays of light in ebon gloom. 

The waters frozen in the woods 

Were mirrored on the shadowed sloors; 

Cold constellations from the sk} 

Hung low, dream-captured at the doors. 

'Twas music hewn upon the air 

Flashed for a moment on these eyes 

I heard the trumpets crumple, and 
I stared once more at transient skies. 



The Marriage of Saint Francis 

The graven plane-trees tease the sight, 
From gold to silver soft the light 
Melts in the crucible of night . . . 

Whilst waits the anxious bridegroom. 

All circumstance of Wealth and Pride, 
Of Art and Ease has he denied; 
Choosing Poverty for bride 
In high and holy rapture. 

Yet stands he now in new-born fear; 
The demon Doubt has sought his ear: 
"Even Heaven may be dear 

When bought with Earth's whole value. 

"What if she come in loathsome guise 
To fright the sense, revolt the eyes? 
Grace above her promised prize, 
But all life fair her forfeit?" 

He hears the winds their whispers raise 
To song, as they her garments graze, 
Sees her part the azure haze 
In both hands bringing beauty. 




Autumn, them splendour that the year puts on 
To meet death royally, then casts again 
Before its conqueror as in disdain, 

Smiling upon him, winning more than won: 

Thou rich and various comparison 

In which the summer, like a monarch slain, 
Lying in state, descants upon things vain 

By the dread silence of oblivion: 

Thou blazoned hatchment hung upon the door, 
Whose many hues declare an ancient line 
Whereof the latest heir hath travelled hence, 

Warning the rich, a wonder to the poor: 

Thou quiet dream of death, thou mortal sign 
Of beauty's own immortal confidence ! 



Song in Autumn 

A j the snake his skin doth cast, 
When the summer's through, 
So my grief I doff at last, 
Old and outworn too. 
With the snakeskin and the leaf 
I discard my ancient grief. 

Ye who pass this way in pride, 

Softly, softly tread ! 

I, who lay my grief aside 

On an autumn bed, 

May not find new joy so rare 

As this delicate despair. 



The Deserted House 

Knowing the house deserted, amid the darkness of trees, 

That seemed to my memories 

Flat as vernal scenery upon a stage, 

Greatly daring I came to the house again; 

Came straight, for I knew its intimacies; 

Broke through bracken and wood to the tower with the 

Came to visit the place I thought not to visit again. 

And knowing the secret ways between tree and tree, 

I came through undergrowth to the falling folly once more, 

Where we played together, my brother and I, and he 

Who died by his own hand, another brother to me. 

But the folly had gone; and down I kneeled on the floor 

That remained, a great slab of stone, the tombstone of three. 

And the ghosts rose up: children who trotted beside 
Me, a child again. But alone I had not died. 

And that time I feared the deserted house, and the brake, 

The trees and the glades of the wood, 

I feared the forsaken garden, 

For none of the living were there, and another ghost, 

He who gave me life (and his spirit I feared the most), 

Walked, silent, forever alone, alongside the lake, 

Whom no living woman had understood. 

And I came yet a second time to that house and garden, 
With the one whom I love, saying: "Come, let us enter the 


That I feared so before to do." 

And we climbed by a window and stood 

On the old blank landing I knew, 

Where, a child, on the stairway to bed, 

In a corner I huddled alone to look at the stars, 

Where first the awe and the fear of infinity took me. 

We went up the hollow stairs and after us followed the dead. 

In the empty nursery I cried: "There, there, was the bed, 

Where she beat me and shook me, 

When I cried with terror at night.'' 

Then the one whom I love 

Held me long on that spot, held me deep, 

Murmuring: "Here is the healing, 

Here is the answer, the pardon." 

Since when I play with the ghosts in the house and the garden 

In dreams, 

When asleep. 


"Newmarket or St. Leger" . . . 
Who, in the garden pony carrying skeps 
Of grass or fallen leaves, his knees gone slack, 
Round belly, hollow back, 
Sees the Mongolian Tarpan of the steppes? 
Or, in the Shire, with plaits and feathered feet, 
The war-horse like the wind the Tartar knew? 
Or in the Suffolk Punch spells out anew 
The wild grey asses fleet 

With stripe from head to tail, and moderate ears? 
In cross sea-donkeys, sheltering as storm gathers, 
The mountain zebra tnaned upon the withers, 
With i imd enormous ears? 

Or, in a thoroughbred in stable garb 

Of crested rug, ranged orderly, will mark 

The wistful eyelashes so long and dark, 


And call to mind the old blood of the Barb? 
And that slim island on whose bare campaigns 
Galloped with flying manes 
For a King's pleasure, churning surf and scud, 
A white Arabian stud? 

That stallion, teazer to Hobgoblin, free 

And foaled upon a plain of Barbary: 

Godolphin Barb, who dragged a cart for hire 

In Paris, but became a famous sire, 

Covering all lovely mares. And she who threw 

Rataplan to the Baron, loveliest shrew; 

King Charles' royal-mares. The Dodsworth Dam; 

And the descendants: Yellow Turk, King Tom; 

And Lath out of Roxana, famous foal; 

Careless; Eclipse, unbeaten in the race, 

With white blaze on his face; 

Prunella who was dam to Parasol. 

Blood Arab, pony, pedigree, no name, 

All horses are the same: 

The Shetland stallion stunted by the damp, 

Yet filled with self-importance, stout and small; 

The Cleveland slow and tall; 

New Forests that may ramp 

Their lives out, being branded, breeding free 

When bluebells turn the Forest to a sea, 

When mares with foal at foot flee down the glades, 

Sheltering in bramble coverts 

From mobs of corn-fed lovers; 

Or, at the acorn-harvest, in stockades, 

A round-up being afoot, will stand at bay, 

Or, making for the heather clearings, splay 

Wide-spread towards the bogs by gorse and whin, 

Roped as they flounder in 

By foresters. 


But hunters as day fails 

Will take the short-cut home across the fields; 
With slackened rein will stoop through darkening wealds, 
With creaking leathers skirt the swedes and kales. 
Tatient, adventuring still, 
A horse's ears bob on the distant hill, 
He starts to hear 

A pheasant chuck or whirr, having the fear 
In him of ages filled with war and raid, 
Night-gallop, ambuscade; 
Remembering adventures of his kin 

With giant winged worms that coiled round mountain bases, 
And Nordic tales of young gods riding races 
Up courses of the rainbow. Here within 
The depth of Hampshire hedges, does he dream 
How Athens woke to hear above her roofs 
The welkin flash and thunder to the hoofs 
Of dawn's tremendous team? 


Now with a humming from the greening skies, 
Sphinx moths with course set true, 
Shoot forth, torpedoes with a spinning screw, 
And bulbous lantern eyes; 

Now hanging round the trumpet of the flowers, 
The Death's head, hairy, squeaking as he comes, 
, A squeal of bagpipes and a blur of drums, 
Seeks his black food, the Deadly Nightshade; scours 
The garden like a vampire after prey, 
And fai 1; ng fades, an air machine away. 

Now those small moths that in their infancy 
Feed on the wild sea spurge, 
Growing above the surge 


That creams the slate slabs of the Cornish sea, 

Come for the honeysuckles swinging loose 

On the brick summer house; 

And Leopard Moths that feed upon the spindles, 

And lilac bark in spring, 

With dark blue spots upon a wedge-like wing, 

Loving the lights, flying to cottage candles; 

The Ghost Swift moth that feigns 

Death in the capturer's net, with such deep arts; 

And Gypsies horned and lean, straight showers of darts; 

Dark Dagger from the plains; 

And sweet Peach blossom feeding on the brambles; 

The small coquettish Puss; 

And that great blunderbuss, 

That bumps on homing farmers and down drumbles 

On footpaths through the midnight fields of May; 

Blue moths that seek chalk hills above the leas, 

And scarlet Tigers in the apple-trees; 

These are the moths that linger on the day. 

But others will seek out the darkest hours, 

To make their drunkard onslaught on the flowers. 

Drab, stout, like little mice 

That scramble after rice. 

Fen moths that feed 

On parsley, wild angelica, lucerne, 

Companions of newt and leech and hern, 

And Mottled Rustics that love teazel weed; 

Waved Umber moth that in the forks of pears 

Spins its soft silk cocoon, 

Breaking to wing in the short nights of June 

To feast upon dog-roses and sweet-briars: 

The moth named Phoenix, symbol of the rest, 

For all their brood 

Were grubs that bred their beauty in a wood; 

Freedom made manifest: 


A faith assured, hailed glorious in a husk, 

Seen as a whirl of wings, and windy lights 

On hills, in hollows of soft earthly nights; 

Ardent adventurers across the dusk, 

That fly, fanatics freed, and reach a bed 

Where above tapers tall 

A dead man's shadow dances on a wall, 

And shower their burning faiths about his head. 

For they must travel far: 

Out of tl"2 spreading south Spring Usher blew; 

Tattered beside him flew 

The Chinese Character, the Cinnabar; 

The Brindled Pug, and the small Seraphim 

Blew in with butte/flies 

Out of the tropic skies: 

Sea-going beauties, that will lightly skim 

Around the crow's-nest, or the baking brasses, 

Telling the sailor of the coastal walk, 

Harebells on slopes of chalk, 

Stillness of quaking grasses; 

That will not rest, but wearily take flight 

Into the ocean night; 

Or taking passage on an old tea clipper, 

Seek hiding in the sails, and finding this, 

Work round to England as a chrysalis: 

The Painted Lady with the Dingy Skipper. 

And many with wide wing and lustrous name 
Blew once, in early time, across the sea: 
Paphia, Silver Washed Fritillary, 
And that imperial dame 
Vanessa Atalanta, who was borne 
In sunny splendour on an offshore gale 
From coasts of Africa, to meet the hail 
Battering the Kentish pebbles in the dawn. 



Spring Sunshine 

To fiery sun, blue firmament, 

To golden bloom, and emerald frond, 
Oh! what a piteous instrument 

Am I, who only half respond ! 

To "Anon* 

May Clio never come to re ut you 

From that kind shade around you hung: 

Enough to know one thing about you 
The cadenced beauty of your tongre. 



On the Step 

The little old lady 

Was walking along the street. 
She carried her head high though of small stature, 
And although he ermine mantle was yellow with age 

And her bonnet of an old fashion, 

The little old lady 
Looked like a well-born woman and moved like a queen. 

Yet for all her composure, 

Fear was in her heart, 

For she had no knowledge, 
No remembrance how she came into the street. 
She remembered last walking alone in her garden 

At Porto Fino, under the mimosas, 

And here she was in England, 
In a quiet street, approaching the door of her house. 

"It is only a dream," she thought, 

"I shall soon awaken." 

Still fear was in her heart. 

"I have lost my memory," she thought, "No one must know it." 
So she came to the door of her house and felt for her key. 

And the key was not there. 
She laid her hand on the bell. It eluded her fingers. 

A man walking in the street, 
The quiet street, 
Seeing her trouble, came to her aid courteously. 


He would ring the bell. Hardly was his hand upon it 

When she saw that the door had been open, 
Open all the while. 

She passed into the hall and on to the staircase. 

The eyes of the great portraits 

Hung on the walls 

Followed her now, just as they had always followed her, 
Beautiful child, beautiful girl, triumphant woman. 

The painted eyes followed her, 

The little old lady, 
Ascending the wide stairs in her empty home. 

She came to the library. 

A fire burned on the hearth. 

Her father sat beside it in the famL ir attitude. 

One foot stretched to the blaze, supple in its slipper 

The white head and the black brows were her own- 
He leaned back in his chair 
With eyes half closed, 

His long slender fingers placed tip against tip. 

So great was her joy, 

Seeing her father, 
She forgot all wonder, she forgot all incredulity. 

"Father!" she cried. 

He stood up and his arms were about her. 
"O Father!" she said, "I have been so frightened. 

I have lost my memory." 
And he, caressing her "Poor little Annie!" 

Meantime the bell 

Had hardly ceased to sound, 

Pealing through the empty house. 
Only a young maid-servant heard it and came, 
Slowly unbarring, opened the heavy door. 


A man stood on the step, 
His back towards her, 
Looking like one amazed up and down the street. 

"I rang the bell," he said, 

"For an old lady 

Who stood on the step here, trying to ring it, 
Now, all in a moment, the lady has vanished." 

"What was she like, Sir?" 

The maid inquired. 
"A small won* an, yet she looked like a great lady. 

"She had crisp white hair 

And black eyebrows 

And an old-fashioned h jnnet with wide ribbons 
Tied under her chin" -"But that is my Lady. 

O Sir!" cried the maid, 

"That is my Lady. 
Sir, she ditJ abroad suddenly this morning." 

But the little old lady 

Did not know that she was dead. 




He strode across the schoolroom ir July, 
Great Hector, clanging in his brazen mail; 
And all the cringing Greeks, with faces pale, 
Creaked into jabbering Ks and turned to fly. 
Achilles, safe because he could not die, 
Cheated and won; and all the lines grew stale. 
The life was gone from out the shabby tale; 
And back in Homer's teeth we flung the lie. 

We fought for Troy behind a mossy wall; 
We burned the Grecian ships below a tree . . . 
Ah, that great war was forty years ago ! 
Yet still I know that Hector did not fall; 
For when the bell rang truce to friend and foe, 
Achilles, lying Greek, was under me! 



My Descendants 

(From Meditations in Time of Civil War] 

Having inherited a vigorous mind 
From my old fathers I must nourish dreams 
And leave a woman and a man behind 
As vigorous of rr'nd, and yet it seems 
Life scarce can f ast a fragrance on the wind. 
Scarce spread a glory to the morning beams, 
When the torn petals strew the garden plot; 
And Jiere's but common greenness after that. 

And what if my descendants lose the flower 
Through natural declension of the soul, 
Through too much business with the passing hour, 
Through too much play, or marriage with a fool; 
And find a comfort in it? May this tower 
Become a roofless ruin that the owl 
May build in the cracked masonry and cry 
Her desolation to the desolate sky ! 


The Primum Mobile that fashioned us 
Has made the very owls in circles move, 
And I, that count myself most prosperous 
Seeing that love and friendship are enough, 


For an old neighbour's friendship chose the house 
And decked and altered it for a girl's love, 
And know whatever flourish and decline 
These stones remain their monument and mine. 

The Road at My Door 

(From Meditations in Time of Civ i' War) 


An affable Irregular, 
A heavily built Falstaffian man, 
Comes cracking jokes of Civil war 
As though to die by gunshot were 
The finest play undei the sun. 


A brown Lieutenant and his men, 
Half dressed in National uniform, 
Stand at my door, and I complain 
Of the foul weather, hail and rain, 
A pear tree broken by the storm. 


I count these feathered balls of soot, 
The moor-hen guides upon the stream, 
To silence the envy in my thought; 
And turn towards my chamber, caught 
In the cold snows of a dream. 

All Souls Night 

*Tis All Souls' Night and the great Christ Church bell, 
And many a lesser bell, sound through the room, 
For it is now midnight; 


And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel 

Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come, 

For it is a ghost's right, 

His element is so fine, 

Being sharpened by his death, 

To drink from the wine-breath 

While our gross palates drink from the whole wine. 


I need some mind, that if the cannon sound 
From every quarter of the world, can stay 
Wound in mind's pondering, 
As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound; 
Because I have a marvellous thing to say, 
A certain marvellous thing 
None but the livin<~ mock, 
Though not for sober ear; 
It may be all that hear 
Should hugh and weep an hour upon the clock. 


H 's the first I call. He loved strange thought 

And knew that sweet extremity of pride 

That's called platonic love, 

And that to such a pitch of passion wrought 

Nothing could bring him, when his lady died, 

Anodyne for his love. 

Words were but wasted breath; 

One dear hope had he: 

The inclemency 

Of that or the next winter would be death. 


Two thoughts were so mixed up I could not tell 
Whether of her or God he thought the most, 
Bu* think that his mind's eye, 
When upward turned, on one sole image fell, 


And that a slight companionable ghost, 

Wild with divinity, 

Had so lit up the whole 

Immense miraculous house, 

The Bible promised us, 

It seemed a gold-fish swimming in a bowl. 

On Florence Emery I call the next, 

Who finding the first wrinkles on a face 

Admired and beautiful, 

And knowing that the future would be vexed 

With 'minished beauty, multiplied commonplace, 

Preferred to teach a school, 

Away from neighbour or f ; end 

Among dark skins, and then. 

Permit foul years to wear 

Hidden from eyesight to the unnoticed end. 


Before that end much had she ravelled out 

From a discourse in figurative speech 

By some learned Indian 

On the soul's journey. How it is whirled about, 

Wherever the orbit of the moon can reach, 

Until it plunge into the sun; 

And there free and yet fast, 

Being both Chance and Choice, 

Forget its broken toys 

And sink into its own delight at last. 


And I call up MacGregor from the g :ave, 

For in my first hard springtime we were friends, 

Although of late estranged. 

I thought him half a lunatic, half knave, 


And told him so, but friendship never ends; 

And what if mind seem changed, 

And it seem changed with the mind, 

When thoughts rise up unhid 

On generous things that he did 

And I grow half contented to be blind? 


He had much industry at setting out, 

Much boisterous courage, before loneliness 

Had driven him crazed; 

For meditations upon unknown thought 

Make human intercourse grow less and less; 

They are neither paid nor praised. 

But he'd object to the host, 

The glass beca .se my glass; 

A ghost-lover he was 

And may have grown more arrogant being a ghost. 

But names are nothing. What matter who it be, 

So that his elements have grown so fine 

The fume of muscatel 

Can give his sharpened palate ecstasy? 

No living man can drink from the whole wine. 

I have mummy truths to tell 

Whereat the living mock, 

Though not for sober ear, 

For maybe all that hear 

Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock. 

Such bought such thought have I that hold it tight 

Till meditation master all its parts, 

Nothing can stay my glance 

Until that glance run in the world's despite 


To where the damned have howled away their hearts, 

And where the blessed dance; 

Such thought, that, in it bound, 

I need no other thing 

Wound in mind's wandering 

As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound. 




The cows s'ood in a thunder-cloud of flies 
As, lagging through the field with trailing feet, 

I kicked up scores of skipper butterflies 
That hopped a little way, lazy with heat. 

The wood I sought was in deep shelter sunk, 

Though clematis leaves shone with a glossy sweat 

And creeping over ground and up tree-trunk 
The ivy in the bun gleamed bright and wet. 

Trees with the soot of August suns were black, 
Though splashed in places with a bright fire-light: 

I praised the daemon of that dim wood-track 
Where pepper moths were flittering by night. 

Songs brief as Chinese poems the birds sung; 

And insects of all sheens, blue, brown and yellow, 
Darted and twisted in their flight and hung 

On air that groaned like hoarse sweet violoncello. 

No leaf in the least breath of wind was turning, 
And foliage hung on trees like heavy wigs; 

White puns fringed with long rainbow hairs were burning 
Inflammable leaves and the light-blackened twigs. 

From that small sun patching the wood with light 
strange to think hung all things that have breath, 

T^ees, insects, cows, even moths that fly by night 
And man, and life in every form and death. 


]. R. YOUNG 

The Moth 

Out from the dim and guideless waster of night 
Fluttered a moth, and died before the dawn 
Upon the sill where we, with curtains drawn. 
Forbade him entry to the lusted light. 
So o'er the shining windows of your heart 
I bade draw down the curtains of constraint 
And leave my love in darkness, where the faint 
Fragrance of duty done might ease our part. 
Yet, ah, I would not, dear, some useless thing 
Dead love, or barren when the day should rise 
That you at last might ope the casement bring, 
Shrivelled in circumspective sacrifice 
Now, therefore, now, open the window wide 
Take in, take in, my love too long denied. 

The Quest 

What is this Death, and where? Far have I sought, 
Oft conjured him, and yet he cometh not. 
With wild petitions and many a crafty plot 
Have I beguiled him; all have come to naught. 
Others, my friends, have found him; they have caught 
Reluctant Death, and found his mystery sweet; 
Clung to him close and won to his retreat, 
Nor told me how this marvel they had wrought. 
Deep have I drunk of the polluted stream, 
Seeking him hidden there like sacrament; 


Deemed that he lurked where poison-berries gleam; 
Galloped in hope when hounds ran hot on scent. 
Still he eludes my most seductive snare> 
And still I live. What is this Death, and where? 

Printed in Great Britai.i by R. & R. C/.ATUC, LIMITED, Edinburgh.